Travels with My Aunt, Paperback
3 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager, meets his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta for the first time in over fifty years at what he supposes to be his mother's funeral.

Soon after, she persuades Henry to abandon Southwood, his dahlias and the Major next door to travel her way, Brighton, Paris, Istanbul, Paraguay.

Through Aunt Augusta, a veteran of Europe's hotel bedrooms, Henry joins a shiftless, twilight society: mixing with hippies, war criminals, CIA men; smoking pot, breaking all the currency regulations and eventually coming alive after a dull suburban life.

In Travels with my Aunt Graham Greene not only gives us intoxicating entertainment but also confronts us with some of the most perplexing of human dilemmas.




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At the funeral of his mother, his aunt Augusta, aged 75, appears in the life of the stodgy nerd and retired banker Henry Pulling. From the earliest moments of their involvement, Henry's life changes from quiet and boring to a roller-coaster of adventure, in which no cliche of slap-stick is left unused. Aunt Augusta develops as a kind of diametric personality to James Bond. She is adventurous, eccentric, practical and pragmatic, and very, very unconventional. Up to a high age, she has been having a sexual relationship with an African servant, Wordsworth, who is completely devoted to her. She cannot see any wickedness in Wordsworth's smoking of marijuana. Aunt Augusta herself regularly engages in illicit trade, smuggling currency, gold and art to finance her trips and secure financial independence. She is under constant vigilance by the police, but is clever at eluding them, and leading her extravagant, international lifestyle.Aunt Augusta's interest in Henry is far from coincidental, as suggested at the beginning of the book. Her influence shows, as Henry is persuaded to marry a 14-year-old girl, tat the end of the novel, as he settles with Aunt Augusta and her life-long criminal lover, Mr Visconti in Paraguay.Travels with my aunt is an unexpectedly funny novel by Graham Greene.

Review by

Early late-period Greene and, as late-period Greene goes, not my favourite at that. Buoyed in parts by amusing set-pieces and witty dialogue, and dragged down in others by scenes and characters that are embarrassingly dated products of a bygone time and place. At its best its Greene at his funniest. At its worst its just downright offensive.

Review by

Henry Pulling is a retired bank manager. At his mother's funeral, he encounters his long lost aunt, Augusta. She manages to talk him into leaving suburbia and his dahlias behind to travel with her to Brighton, Istanbul, Boulogne and Paraguay. Along the way, he encounters lots of unusual people, and unusual circumstances.This is a nice enough read, but I did find it all a bit silly. I didn't much like aunt Augusta's voice, which irritated me at times, and there were quite a few ridiculously coincidental meetings during the travels too.This is not a book I would rave about, but pleasant enough if you like that sort of thing.

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