Travels with My Aunt is a novel I’d hate to part with. It’s undemanding, pleasant, and quite forgettable once it’s back on the shelf.
It is, in fact, rather like Henry Pulling the retired bank manager who is the nephew alluded to in the title of Graham Greene’s novel.
Henry’s unvarying routine of tending to his dahlias and telephoning to Chicken for his meals, was agreeably disrupted by his mother’s funeral.
Henry’s Aunt Augusta, whom he’d not seen in over 50 years attended the funeral. She tells Henry bits of family history he’d never known, and hints at more he would prefer not to know.
He quickly finds himself sucked into a world of eccentrics and crooks to whom wouldn’t have given even a secured loan in his banking days.
Being a gentleman and a nephew, Henry feels he ought to accompany his aunt when she travels abroad. Travel scares and exhilarates Henry. It’s certainly more interesting than growing dahlias.
Greene paints vivid pictures of his characters. In his pen, even bland Henry breathes. His gradual release of respectability in favor of adventure is believable.
There’s no great moral here. Just a pleasant reminder that growing old does not need to mean growing bored.
Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene
Viking Press, 1970. The Collected Edition, 319 p.
1970 bestseller #9. My grade: B
©2018 Linda Gorton Aragoni