At the gateway to the Mediterranean lie the two Pillars of Hercules. Beginning his journey in Gibraltar, Paul Theroux travels the long way round – through the ravaged developments of the Costa del Sol, into Corsica and Sicily and beyond – to Morocco’s southern pillar. Theroux takes in the local fare, travelling by dilapidated taxi, smoke-filled bus, the occasional bicycle and even a cruise-liner. He discovers pockets of humanity in Slovenia and Croatia that have survived the brutality of war; later he receives a gruff welcome in Israel and gets a lesson in Australian slang from a Syrian market reader. Urban sprawl and ancient villages, out-of-season travel and jovial hospitality characterize Paul Theroux’s long and lively tour. It is this diversity, chronicled with Theroux’s inimitable originality and style, that provides the essence of Mediterranean life.