WOULD YOU TRAVEL WITH YOUR AUNT?


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Cover of “Travels With My Aunt,” by Graham Greene,The Folio Society edition with introduction by John Mortimer

Henry Pulling, the main character in Graham Greene’s 1969 novel, “Travels With My Aunt,” chose to travel to Paris with his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta.  The book begins in London at the funeral/cremation of Henry’s mother, Aunt Augusta’s sister.  He had not seen her since he was a child. Graham Greene, author of darker novels – “The Power and the Glory” for example – actually had a lighter side to him as displayed in this funny novel.  Check out two of my posts, Graham Greene and the Anglo-Texan Society  and Next Year in London!

Henry, who never married, had retired early from a bank due to bank take-over and spent  his days quietly cultivating dahlias.  When Aunt Augusta invites him to travel with her first to Brighton and then to Paris and Istanbul via the Orient Express, he accepts.  Henry is rather shocked at his aunt’s frank attitude toward sex at her age and is not sure if what she carries across borders in her luggage is legal.  Travel on the Orient Express awakens Henry’s passion when he meets an unconventional young woman.

Oh, yes, before they set out on their travels, the police take away the urn containing the ashes of Henry’s mother because they suspect it may contain a strong mixture of cannabis. The adventures end in Paraguay.  It is pure entertainment all the way!

Illustration by John Holder

Henry, Aunt Augusta and Wordsworth -Book illustration by John Holder

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32 thoughts on “WOULD YOU TRAVEL WITH YOUR AUNT?

  1. I love this book. A great departure from usual mood of Greenland. Did you know they made a fanatsic movie of it with Maggie Smith as Aunt Augusta. Superb.

    Can I recomend a book back you. Mr Pye by Mervine Peake (of Gormanghast fame) about a man who wakes up one morning and his sprouting Angel Wings. He finds the only way to keep them in check is to do something naughty (steals a towel from an hotel. Next day horns begin to appear on his head. he must find a way to balance the two. Terrfically funny.

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    • I should have know that! Or I may have and just forgotten about it. Thanks for pointing it out as I love Maggie Smith and she would be perfect as Aunt Augusta. I will put “Mr. Pye” on my list as I like an offbeat book occasionally.

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  2. I had read this sometime back, didn’t know they made a movie now will have to go find it.

    I have just finished a book that I think is one of the best I have read this year. So I am going to recommend it to you.

    The End of Life of Your Life Book Club, Will Schwalbe
    I simply cannot say enough good things about this book. I finished it yesterday and am still contemplating what I read. So few books end up in my forever library these days, this one is one that will. In fact, I am going to try to find a hardback version.

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    • I want to see the movie also. I will look for the book you recommended. One of the wonderful things about blogging is that people share book favorites. The title alone is intriguing! I am getting closer to the end of my life! Have a good weekend, Val. Peace and cheers to you!

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  3. Hi there, Coastal Crone! Sounds like an interesting read for sure! I am an aunt of 4 darling nieces and nephews, and I’m not sure they’d want to travel with me at my age! Ha – Good stuff. The funniest and most entertaining stories can be fact or fiction, but are usually from a window of both. 🙂

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    • Well, I have great and great-great nieces and nephews and I know that I would not want to travel with them and they would not want to travel with me! You always know there are people you know would not make good travel companions. My parents did not travel well together! I love to people watch in airports as I wait for a flight as it is the better than the news or reality TV. Good to see you back.

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    • Yes, the cover does rather grab your attention and it was as you described it. Sometimes I need something light to cleanse my reading palate. And I think Graham Greene cleansed his writing palate with this one. I hope you are feeling better and have a good weekend.

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  4. I would travel with my aunt, my uncle, mom, dad, kids, husband–anyone who wanted to go! So enjoyed the picture. It makes it all look fun. Thanks for the review, Dor.

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  5. This sounds an interesting read, and I love travelling, and have met some very interesting people along my journeys ..I have met many elderly ladies who travel alone who seem to have a whale of a time as they meet and greet strangers along the same journey… They are perhaps braver than I… 🙂 as I have been very fortunate in having my hubby as my constant travelling companion ..
    I did however go on holiday age 15 with my aunt and uncle to the coast for one week… and had a fabulous time 🙂

    Wishing you a Peaceful Sunday and a bright New Week
    Sue xox 🙂

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    • Yes, I too admire those mature ladies who travel alone and seem to have a great time and are indeed brave! Traveling is such an adventure and part of the experience is meeting new people from different parts of the world. I had an aunt that would send me things from her overseas travels but I never got to travel with her. I had a peaceful Sunday and my new week is bright so far so I have received your good wishes! The same back to you, Sue.

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  6. The illustrations are well worth the price of the book! It sounds like fun. Kelli went to Alaska with her aunt, my sister, and had a marvelous time. They both still talk about it. I hate traveling and say so. That’s why Kelli took my sister! I bid them a relieved bon voyage! I enjoyed this post, Jo Nell, as always. Thanks.

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    • I bought the book at the local library sale for $1.00 and it was worth every penny as there are several more color illustrations by the same artist. As I get older I don’t seem to enjoy traveling as much as I used to enjoy it, but I do admire those that seem to relish traveling even more as they age. Travel can be a hassle and there’s no place like home! I am glad you are doing well and still blogging.

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