Christopher Hart

Only in South America

Ghost Train through the Andes: On My Grandfather’s Trail in Chile and Bolivia

By

John Murray 309pp £30 order from our bookshop

Michael Jacobs’s grandfather, Bethel Jacobs, worked as a civil engineer in South America during the early years of the twentieth century, and left a paper trail of letters behind him. So following in his pioneer footsteps or railway-tracks seems a good excuse for a travel book. In fact he sounds rather a dullard, with distinct overtones of Pooter about him. Fortunately his grandson is a far more charming companion, endearingly anxious about volcanoes and revolutions and hygiene, but still outgoing and interested in everything around him, and his travels up the bony spine of Chile and into the vast, eerie altiplano of Bolivia make for a most enjoyable armchair journey. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,
    • Domestic scandal, sexual abuse and serial killers are on the menu in April's crime round-up. revie… ,