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Travels With My Aunt (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 2 Sep 1999


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Travels With My Aunt (Vintage Classics) + Our Man in Havana (Vintage Classics) + The Quiet American
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (2 Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099282585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099282587
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Graham Greene was born in 1904. He worked as a journalist and critic, and in 1940 became literary editor of the Spectator. He was later employed by the Foreign Office. As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography, two of biography and four books for children. He also wrote hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.

Product Description

Review

"Rich in exactly etched and moving portraits of real human beings...the tragic and comic ironies of love, loyalty and belief" (The Times)

"The most ingenious, inventive and exciting of our novelists - V S Pritchett, The Times"

"Funny and bizarre... This is a Greene with the lightest touches" (Susan Hill The Lady)

"No serious writer of [the twentith century] has more thoroughly invaded and shaped the public imagination than Graham Greene - Time "

Book Description

A witty, inventive read with anyone for a passion for travel.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By N. Bailey on 15 May 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow. It's sat on the bookshelf for an age, along with half a dozen other Greene novels, without ever rising to the top of the pile. And then, I pick up the wonderful Our Man in Havana for a long journey and I'm hooked. I wasn't sure what to expect of Travels With My Aunt - it's a familiar title, but I'm not aware of a film or TV adaptation (either of which would be a real treat) and expected if anything a semi-autobiographical tale. Not sure of the background, but I know a top book when I read one, and I'd recommend this to anyone. Everyone. It's a great read. Travel writing in the sixties still had a mysterious romance about it (as anyone who's read Ian Fleming's Bond books will testify) but this is more than travel writing, a great plot, wonderful characters and superb storytelling all wrapped up in 264 enchanting pages. Highly recommended.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Philip Spires on 9 April 2008
Format: Paperback
Henry Pulling is a recently retired bank manager. He was offered an arrangement after many years of devoted service when his bank was taken over by another. He is looking forward to spending more time with the dahlias that are his pride and joy, and also rubbing shoulders with his former customers in Southwood, an unremarkable London suburb that seems to be populated entirely by retired officers from the armed forces. He mentions Omo quite a lot and is vaguely embarrassed by the fact that he shares initials with a well known brand of sauce. And then he meets his long lost aunt, Augusta Bertram.

Henry's mother has just died. His father died forty years before. He never really knew the father and his relationship with his mother was perennially tense. After the funeral, Agatha takes him on one side and calmly informs him that his father was something of a rogue and that his "mother" was really his step-mother, his true biological mother being one of his father's bits on the side. Henry Pulling finds himself attracted to his aunt, not because she is something of an eccentric, unpredictable old bird, but also because she retains, somewhere, the secret of his own origins. When she suggests they travel together, he eagerly accompanies, despite the fact that he has never been one for straying far from the nest.

Graham Greene has Henry and Aunt Augusta travel as far afield as Brighton, Istanbul and South America. Together, via stories from Aunt Agatha's past, they relive the first half of the twentieth century, from late Victorian roots to 1960s drug culture, from fascism to dictators, from war to peace. Throughout, Henry Pulling comes across as a genial, predictable gent in his late fifties, whilst Aunt Agatha seems to be a confirmed member of Hell's Grannies.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Quicksilver TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 April 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel seems very dated when viewed through the jaded lens of the twenty first century but I suspect it felt that way even on it's day of publication. The central character seems out of place in the swinging sixties and belongs back in thirties and the realm of the stiff upper lip. Not so his outrageous ageing Aunt, who drags Henry Pulling almost by the neck, into the open air and confronts him with present day (the 60's) realities.

The first half of this novel details Henry first meeting his Aunt and being persuaded on a voyage from London to Istanbul. The style is largely anecdotal and hugely entertaining. Greene's prose is second to none and his velvety words slip past effortlessly. The second half of the book is darker and less about the journey than the destination. The light tone and comedy of the first section are lost; characters become more sinister and the novel is driven by plot rather than character. Unusually for Greene the plotting is rather lazy and unsatisfactory, leaving the reader disappointed. After an excellent beginning I had expected rather more.

Travels with my Aunt is still a very good novel, written by a master craftsmen and definitely worth reading but I have been left somewhat deflated by a second half that pales when compared with the brilliance of the first.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gregory S. Buzwell VINE VOICE on 15 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
Humour is always present in Greene's novels, it's just that usually the comedy is buried beneath a bleak pile of despair, guilt and angst. With Greene there is laughter but it's very much laughter in the dark: the gallows humour of the man who trips on his way to the scaffold. In Travels with My Aunt however the humour steps out of the shadows and takes centre stage with the result that this is, perhaps, the most likeable and purely enjoyable all the novels Greene wrote.

Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager who lives - if that's the word - an eye-wateringly dull life, meets his Aunt Augusta for the first time in fifty years at his mother's funeral. Henry is initially wary of his charismatic aunt but gradually he falls into step beside her and the pair travel to Brighton, Paris, Istanbul and, finally, South America. From his dry little life of dahlias and retired army majors Henry finds himself propelled into a world of CIA agents, hippies, dubious businessmen, elderly Casanovas, suspect priests and quaint old dears who read uncannily accurate forecasts about future events from tealeaves. After a dull suburban existence Henry finds himself finally engaging with the very stuff of life rather than merely watching from the sidelines as it passes him by. Henry is a brilliant comic character - wide-eyed and naive, continually surprised by his aunt's questionable friends and rather racy behaviour, but it is his aunt who steals the show: fabulously entertaining in a no-nonsense hands-on fashion, ready to engage with whatever life cares to push in her path Aunt Augusta is a fesity force of nature. As a lesson on the need to make the most of one's opportunities the book can hardly be bettered. The world is out there - go and find it....
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