• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    Matthew on [825] Paradise Lost -John…
    Anokatony on [825] Paradise Lost -John…
    Matthew on The King’s English Books…
    Katie Marie on The King’s English Books…
    lazyhaze on Reading Kafka’s “T…
    Buried In Print on Reading Kafka’s “T…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 991,247 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,662 other followers

Greene

aunt

Travels With My Aunt (sounds like a memoir but it’s a novel) reveals a Graham Greene I’m not familiar with. It’s a very fun read, although I’m not saying I don’t enjoy The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair, which are heavy on espionage and warfare. “A journey from suburban London to Brighton to Istanbul to South America, it also explores recent history – with a compassionate overview of the sorrows of war, a hilarious send-up of 1960s counter culture, and surprising revelations about Henry himself. Graham Greene described his most enjoyably straightforward comedy as ‘the only book I have written for the fun of it’, and it’s easy to reciprocate his pleasure.” Aunt and nephew got the the Orient Express en route to Istanbul. Aunt Augusta, however, at the age of 75 is anything but serious and sober. She belongs firmly to that most formidable breed of the English eccentric, the maiden aunt- the sort of part that in the cinema is always played by Margaret Rutherford or Dame Edith Evans.

I have never planned anything illegal in my life,’ Aunt Augusta said. ‘How could I plan anything of the kind when I have never read any of the laws and have no idea what they are?

They think my mother’s ashes are marijuana.

God … created a number of possibilities in case some of his prototypes failed — that is the meaning of evolution.

One’s life is more formed, I sometimes think, by books than by human beings: it is out of books one learns about love and pain at second hand. Even if we have the happy chance to fall in love, it is because we have been conditioned by what we have read, and if I had never known love at all, perhaps it was because my father’s library had not contained the right books.

Despite the lighter side of the story and drak sense of humor, there is still a sense of seriousness in this book. But I cannot help thinking from time to time that this is the mature equivalent of Auntie Mame! I’m so glad I’ve found this in a used bookstore in sleepy San Luis Obispo.

4 Responses

  1. Have you read Our Man in Havana? Its also very funny. Mr. Greene could have made a decent living writing just comic novels if he’d wanted to.

    • Our Man in Havana is on my shelf somewhere. I’ll have to dig it out. This book has been an accidental find when I browse through this used bookstore with piles of books on the floor in San Luis Obispo.

  2. I need to give this one a try, because as embarrassed as I am to admit, The End of the Affair didn’t do much for me. But I know the man is a literary classic, so I’m willing to give it another go.

    • Really? End of the Affair is more favorite Greene. I read it all in one sitting. That said, I have found it easiest to take Greene’s work most seriously when it has been least solemn. Looking back, I realize I might not have fully comprehended the intense religious drama in The End of the Affair. Travels With My Aunt is lighter in this regard, although he does mention Catholic umpteen times!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: