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Stamboul Train

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,366 Ratings  ·  219 Reviews
As the Orient express crosses Europe, it seems to draw a trail of lust, murder, revolution and intrigue from Ostend to Constantinople ...
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 25th 1983 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1932)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steve
May 14, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
If T.S. Eliot, during his Prufrock-Sweeney-Wasteland days had sat down to write a novel, it might have come out looking like Graham Greene’s Orient Express (or, my preferred title, Stamboul Express). Written in 1933, this early novel was considered by Greene to be one of his “entertainments.” I’ve always felt this tag by Greene to be a ridiculous one. It may be a lesser novel, but it’s certainly well-written fiction. In this case, Greene throws a bunch of strangers together on a train in Ostend, ...more
Laura
Being a big fan of travels, he placed his plots somewhere related to some place.

3* The Third Man
4* The End of the Affair
4* Our Man in Havana
3* The Captain and the Enemy
3* The Quiet American
4* The Ministry of Fear
4* The Power and the Glory
4* The Honorary Consul
3* Orient Express
TR Brighton Rock
TR Travels With My Aunt
TR The Tenth Man
TR Monsignor Quixote
TR The Heart of the Matter
Mala
Fictional train journeys are always better than fictional air travel - the lengthy journey giving the writer ample narrative time & scope to introduce plot twists & interesting characters. Greene called his less serious work 'entertainment', still, the three nights journey from Ostend to Istanbul on the Orient Express inevitably brings the writer's usual ethical & political contretemps in the form of issues & mindsets saturated in the 1930s worldview: each stop on the itinerary b ...more
Sketchbook
Jun 28, 2016 Sketchbook rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Graham Greene's Grand Hotel on a European train in 1932. He wanted to write something that gave him pleasure, he said, and also make money. "Stamboul Train" (original UK title) did both. Doomed passengers include a passionate political rebel, a Jean Rhysian chorus girl, a kindly Jewish merchant who suffers snubs, and best of all, a braying reporter out for the scoop of a lifetime between her swigs of gin (the star of the piece for me) and a jealous obsession about a departing tootsie. There's al ...more
John Weller
Not GG's best outing but very entertaining all the same. His fourth novel. I really liked the Mabel Warren character, she reminded me of Beryl Reid in 'The Killing of Sister George', I do love it when older posh people swear, so elegant.

Was confused about Myatt, the Jewish currant seller who is subject to anti-semitism. He's a knight in shining armour, a spoiler of maidens and happy to marry for money and convenience. His recollections of Spaniards Road were bizarre, drunken girls offering them
...more
Rick
Feb 02, 2008 Rick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Strong entertainment that works better on reflection than it does as a compelling mystery or thriller. Makes excellent use of the device of a long train trip to bring together disparate characters who have little or nothing in common beyond their capacity to get mixed up with one another and with forces that make ironic havoc of their lives: a chorus girl, a Jewish merchant, a lesbian journalist and her companion, a thief who becomes a murder, a revolutionary doctor who misses his rendezvous wit ...more
Cynthia
Nov 28, 2012 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5

I love Greene. He has a way of capturing your attention right from the beginning and 'orient' is no exception. I felt it was marred by the somewhat weak ending and the incessant anti-semitism was horrible. I think this was first published in '33 and if it was reflective of the attitudes of the time it throws light on how Hitler was able to succeed.
Edward
Introduction

--Stamboul Train
BrokenTune
Review first posted on BookLikes:


"I’m tired of being decent, of doing the right thing."

Stamboul Train is the story of a number of individuals who are thrown together within the confines of a train journey - a microcosm, in a way - and Greene offers us a peek into the relationships that develop between the characters and the difficulty that each of the individuals has to adapt to the society they form.

It took a while to get into the story - just because every character has a story about how they
...more
Ali
Aug 17, 2013 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found Stamboul Train to be a wonderfully atmospheric read, a well written adventure peopled with a variety of complex characters, several of them quite deliciously sinister. I do so like to be transported with a novel, and Stamboul Train was able to do just that wonderfully- and not just because it is set aboard the famous Orient Express. It has always been a bit of a fantasy of mine – to travel across Europe aboard the Orient Express, I’d require a first class ticket and a set of matching 193 ...more
GwennieA
Mar 04, 2013 GwennieA rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A between-planes airport purchase.

I chose it because the introduction is by Christopher Hitchens, but I was disappointed with his intro: He went on & on about the stereotypical Jew character & the character's relationship to the times (the book was written in 1932)...HOWEVER - there is a dyke character! who is a successful journalist (though not as successful as she would wish)and a heavy drinker and picks up mistresses for cohabitation!!! Hitchens paid her ZERO attention!!!! What about
...more
^
I love Chris Moore's cover art, front & back, on this Peacock (Penguin) paperback edition; reset and reprinted from the Collected Edition, 1975.

Set in Spring, and enigmatically subtitled “An Entertainment”, this slim, haunting fantasy, reset and reprinted from the Collected Edition 1975, explores social interactions and relationships; some conventional, some intimate, some lonely, some socially unacceptable, formed and broken, queried and challenged, during the rather other-worldly course of
...more
Daren
One of Greene's early novels.
It was an interesting premise - a number of unconnected characters on the Orient Express from Ostend to Constantinople, whose story becomes connected - and the characters are interesting and built well.
It seems like an opportunity was missed however when events took place off the train, which seemed to distract from, or weaken the story a little for me.
I was also a bit confused about the route of the train, as according to Wikipedia, the train never followed the rout
...more
Joseph Rice
Mar 27, 2014 Joseph Rice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I think the folks accusing this book of being anti-Semitic are not reading it through. Sure, Greene uses some phrases and physical descriptions that don't quite mesh with our modern day sensibilities, but the main Jewish character is the primary hero of the book. The one man who is decent to the end, even if he isn't entirely pure.

The political events swarming around the time period of the book are rather breathtaking at times. Revolution has a tendency to do that, I suppose, but it feels real.
...more
Shane
Jul 24, 2014 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greene’s early “entertainments” were not as fluidly written as his later “catholic” novels, and that is evident when reading this book. Stamboul Train was probably intended as a screenplay, for it unfolds like one, with constant scene shifts, point of view shifts, and movement. The novel moves like the famed train from Ostend through several stops to its final destination in Constantinople. Snatches of dialogue hit the reader like overhead conversations in a dining car. What the camera will not ...more
Charity
Aug 05, 2011 Charity rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read for college English Lit students. Graham Greene's book was a surprise (though recommended by former Poet Laureate Dana Goia.) I came expecting an action novel, a psychological thriller, & thought this slim novel would be easily forgotten. After a slow beginning (due in part to blindness caused by preconceptions), it dawned on me that this was a novel after the old school traditions. Greene deals with "big questions," such as: what does it mean to be good, what makes a human being h ...more
Douglas
I know that this is supposed to be a classic written by a noted author, but, I can't get excited by this book. While the story was interesting and had some memorable characters, the style of the prose left me confused on a number of occasions. Since this was my first Graham Greene novel, I will have to think hard and long before I pick up another to read.
John
Dec 11, 2012 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library_books
I would categorize this one as a very long short story, not even a novella, let alone a novel. Slow to start, though the second half has plenty of tension. The casual, matter-of-fact antisemitism managed to both shock and bore me at the same time. Greene sure did know how to put together an interesting mix of characters!
Bill
Mar 06, 2013 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, spy, thriller
Nice to read Graham Greene again. He has a way of unfolding a story. It's basically a series of events on the Orient Express from Ostend to Constantinople, how the lives of varios people intertwine; who gets on where and their stories. Loved it.
Mitchell
Where did I pick up the notion that it was a good idea to at least try to read an author’s books from beginning to end – even if they’re not connected, just so you can get an impression of the author’s growth? I think it was Gun With Occasional Music, though that was mostly just because I liked the sound of it. Most writers, naturally, take a while to grow into their style, and don’t produce their best works until later in their career. Graham Greene, in any case, doesn’t make it easy for the mo ...more
Negar
Aug 03, 2012 Negar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*This review may contain spoilers*
It's one of Greene's early works and though the characters are not as psychologically complicated as in his later works it’s still captivating.
Greene artfully sews up a group of mismatching characters in to the patchwork of story. He follows five central characters, along with some minor ones, through the journey from Ostend to Istanbul. Carleton Myatt is a Jewish businessman going to Istanbul for a contract. Coral Musker is a dancer travelling to Istanbul for
...more
Judy
Jun 15, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graham-greene
This was Greene's fourth novel - and by now he was really coming into his own as a writer. The book is set aboard the Orient Express travelling between Ostende and Vienna in the early 1930s, and was Greene's first novel to be set in the real world of his present day. I enjoyed the way he keeps switching viewpoint between several different characters.

Greene originally categorised this as an "entertainment" and it was filmed, though I haven't seen the movie, which seems to be very hard to get hol
...more
Steven Brown
Jun 30, 2012 Steven Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating 1932 exploration of human interactions through focus on three characters on the train to Istanbul: a young and impoverished British dancer, a young and wealthy Jewish businessman and a mysterious middle-aged doctor/teacher that no one quite believes is really British. In addition to the main characters and their dramas, Greene satirizes other, mainly British, types. Though Greene considered it an "entertainment" rather than one of his "novels", the book's prose is crisp, evocative an ...more
Darwin8u
Jul 11, 2012 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
With themes of sacrifice and betrayal Greene's Stamboul Train/Orient Express/Stamboul Express is able to provide a moving bio-dome of the human experience on this train headed to Constantinople. There is a definite reason trains are so often used in literature and film. The sealed quality, the movement, the modernity gives the writer room to experiment with characters and themes in a way that others settings would make difficult.

This isn't a major Greene novel. Greene definitely wrote better as
...more
Richard
Greene's prose is dense and full of lively detail--he populates this book with interesting characters that will keep your attention. But while his insights into characters are deep, they tend to be negative, with stereotypes and cynicism intertwined. It is difficult to tolerate some of Greene's descriptions of the "Jew"--I suppose one can view this as a product of a historical time period. Greene is an Englishman, and his description of characters is filled with observations of class, race and n ...more
Bridget Weller
Remarkable improvement in the three years since the man within. He claimed to have deliberately written this one to please, and the fact he succeeded makes me feel like I've been shown up as a dreadful pushover as a reader, dazzled by cheap glass trinkets. That, in turn, would only reinforce one of the basic premises of the book, which is that women primarily hang around waiting around for glass trinkets, not seemingly capable of deeper or loftier thought. Mind you, the vast majority of the men ...more
Jennyb
Dec 17, 2014 Jennyb rated it it was ok
I finished this book two days ago, and I think it will be... forgettable. Especially at the beginning, it is SO SLOW. Even when the pace picks up and the characters develop a little, it is still difficult to really feel caught up in the story. Part of the reason for this is how dated and archaic the narrative now seems, and another part is Greene's writing style. Vaguely similar to James, Greene is precise, detailed and finely nuanced. Reading his writing is like someone from a tropical land try ...more
Dzino
Sep 14, 2014 Dzino rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My high rating is, admittedly, mostly influenced by the book's appeal as a believable, engaging thriller. Others may dispute its literary merit, though I appreciate Greene's ability to explore the minds and motivations of his characters without drowning his story, as so many acclaimed authors do, in seemingly aimless and endless reflections. Some may feel that the book ends a little too neatly, even happily for several of the characters -- yet to my mind Greene did this on purpose. It's as thoug ...more
Rose
Apr 25, 2010 Rose added it
Shelves: 2010, fiction
Frankly, I don't understand what makes this a spy novel. I didn't find a single spy. Mendacious chorus girls, crazy alcoholic lesbians, hungry soldiers, socialist agitators, Jewish currant-merchants, self-important authors, mad Turkish drivers, protocol-obsessed court-martial officers, uncatchable criminals who climb buildings like Spiderman...yes to all of those. But spies? No.

I would recommend this, with the caveat that it contains a fair amount of anti-Semitism.
Panagiotis
Το Orient Express, το οποίο απαντάται στις Αμερικάνικες εκδόσεις ως Stanbul Train, ανήκει στην μερίδα των ψυχαγωγικών ιστοριών του Γκριν. Και κατά ένα μέρος είναι ένα πιο έντονο μυθιστόρημα, με αγωνία και δραματικές εξελίξεις, καταδιώξεις, κατασκοπεία, διαρρήξεις και ματαιόδοξους δημοσιογράφους.

Το κλίμα του βιβλίου, πιο σκοτεινό, βασίζεται έντονα στην ατμόσφαιρα που δημιουργεί μέσα στο τρένο που διασχίζει όλη την Ευρώπη με προορισμό την Κωνσταντινούπολη. Πληθώρα χαρακτήρων περνάει, καθείς με το
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2533
Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, travel writer and critic whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity.

Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a “Catholic novelist” rather than as a “novelist who happened to be Ca
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“‎His lips felt dry with a literal thirst for righteousness, which was like a glass of ice-cold water on a table in another man's room.” 3 likes
“She thought for the first time, with happiness: perhaps I have a life in people's minds when I am not there to be seen or talked to.” 3 likes
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