By Keith Staskiewicz
Updated May 03, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

There is an air of deep melancholy to Paul Theroux’s latest travel memoir, The Last Train to Zona Verde, in which he returns to the continent he chronicled previously in Dark Star Safari, making his way from the slums of Cape Town up the eastern coast of Africa into the terra incognita of the bush. Theroux is too experienced to stumble into romanticism, and he examines his own motivations just as thoroughly as the details of his surroundings. He has no illusions about the fact that he is just a passing visitor (a privileged one at that), but that doesn’t make his observations, or exquisite writing, any less engaging. A-