The late English writer Graham Greene was a true wordsmith who could turn a simple phrase into a magical sentence. In Travels with My Aunt he is in good form and at his most entertaining. It’s humorous in the dry-English-wit style. I’m a fan of Greene’s writing but had missed this book until recently.
The author said of this book, “It’s the only book I have written for the fun of it.” It’s the story of retired bank manager Henry Pulling who meets his aunt for the first time at his mother’s (her sister’s) funeral. She shocks him with family secrets and with the details of her colorful life and persuades him to travel with her. Thus, Pulling’s ordered, mundane, quiet life becomes enmeshed with travel, drugs, war criminals, the CIA, hippies and other experiences he’s never had.
Much of the subject matter is not humorous on the surface — his mother’s funeral, the stealing of her ashes which are mixed with pot when returned to Pulling, a police investigation, and all manner of mishaps — but Greene’s keen wit and wording keep the plot rolling along. It’s a style described by the French as grim grin.
Aunt Augusta is one of those irrepressible souls who trips merrily through life even though she’s in and out of scandal and calamity. She has had an illustrious past and at age 75 is still intent on having more — often to Henry Pulling’s dismay. She’s described as “wise in experience and years but gloriously foolish in all things the English traditionally face with severe prudence.”
Greene’s long life nearly spanned the 20th century. He is counted as one of England’s greatest novelists. He has many novels to his credit; among them The Third Man, The Quiet American, The End of the Affair, Our Man in Havana and The Human Factor. He was named a Companion of Honour and received the Order of Merit and many other awards. Several of his books were made into movies — notably The Third Man and The Quiet American.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info