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Travels with My Aunt

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,011 Ratings  ·  550 Reviews
"I met Aunt Augusta for the first time at my mother's funeral..."

Described by Graham Greene as "the only book I have written just for the fun of it," Travels with My Aunt is the story of Hanry Pulling, a retired and complacent bank manager who meets his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta for the first time at what he supposes to be his mother's funeral. She soon persuades Henry
Hardcover 1st editon
Published 1969
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Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Sep 13, 2013 Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of British Lit.
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Petar X
Clever and witty, a character driven novel written in a crisp clean style. Fun comes from the interplay between stodgy Henry and his outrageous Aunt. Told through Henry’s eyes, a cautious man recently retired from banking who never married, whose passion has never extended beyond the growing of dahlias. “I like to change my clothes as little as possible. I suppose some people would say the same of my ideas, the bank had taught me to be wary of whims.”
Contrasted with Aunt Augusta who first appea
Jul 15, 2014 Rowena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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..." - Graham Greene, Travels With my Aunt

Having only read one other Graham Greene book previously (Brighton Rock) I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book. It turned out to be a fun and entertaining story about Henry Puling, a very unim
Sep 17, 2011 Mariel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The Golden Girls
Recommended to Mariel by: eenie meenie miney mo
Travels with My Aunt was my first Graham Greene (films don't count! Or do they?) . I didn't know which to choose because I didn't have internet access at the time of the big moment. The jacket said it was the only book that Greene ever wrote for the fun of it.

Maybe he had fun. I sure as heck didn't. Maybe it was the times (publication date is 1969) ... An old woman who proclaims way too loudly that she's having a great time to make her cliche of a stiff upper lip Englishman nephew feel more bef
Definitely funny.....but maybe too funny? Do you know what I mean?

Of course I chuckled at lines like these:

"You will never persuade a mouse that a black cat is lucky." (chapter 5)


"I had such a good memory.......once!" (chapter 6)


"I have never planned anything illegal in my life! How could I plan anything of the kind, when I have never read any of the laws and have no idea what they are?!" (chapter 7)


"A little honest thieving hurts no one." And then, "It was all very harmless and gave emp
"I found myself to be a ghost returning home, transparent as water. Curran was more alive than I was. I was almost surprised to see that my image was visible in the glass."

So says Henry Pulling, a retired English bank manager who has lived life so prudently, safely, carefully and boringly that he comes to realize that he has left no consequential living memory in anyone he's ever met. His favorite thing in all the world is tending to his dahlia flower garden and reading dusty volumes of Wordswor
I have mixed feelings about this book--it was recommended to me highly by a friend, and I could totally see why: Greene is a master of his prose (check out the opening lines) and there were brilliant chapters in the novel. The characters were great--this is an example of how if you can write great characters, a reader will stay loyal to your novel out of a pure desire to follow them for hundreds of pages. But the plot was sort of lacking (I skipped entire chapters out of impatience with the slow ...more
Sep 22, 2011 Teresa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure what to make of this novel at first. I was all set to give it 2 stars, but after the tedium of Aunt Augusta's stories (she's highly offended later when Henry, pleading tiredness, doesn't want to listen to one of her stories at the moment, but I understood why completely!) has passed into the background, the story picked up considerably and I was able to go with its flow.

This is a 'comic' (in both senses of the word) novel and it works as such -- it's just not a favorite genre of mi
'Tis better to travel hopefully...

When middle-aged Henry Pulling attends the cremation of his mother, he meets his mother's sister, Aunt Augusta, a woman he knows only from old family photographs. It seems Aunt Augusta was something of the black sheep of the family, her distinctly racy and unconventional lifestyle making her unwelcome. But Henry finds himself drawn towards her, her frank stories of a life full of incident providing a contrast to his own rather dull and lonely existence as a reti
Aug 24, 2015 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2015
Henry Pulling is just a little bit dull. He has taken early retirement from the bank, where he was manager, he has never married, and leads a quiet and uninteresting life pottering in the garden and tending his dahlias. At his mother’s funeral he meets her sister, Augusta, again for the first time in 50 years, and she tells him that the lady he considered to be his mother was actually not. He travels back to her home and meets Wordsworth, a man from Sierra Leone and who is his Aunt’s confident a ...more
Aug 20, 2008 Philip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Henry Pulling is a recently retired bank manager. He was offered an arrangement after many years of devoted service when his bank was taken over by another. He is looking forward to spending more time with the dahlias that are his pride and joy, and also rubbing shoulders with his former customers in Southwood, an unremarkable London suburb that seems to be populated entirely by retired officers from the armed forces. He mentions Omo quite a lot and is vaguely embarrassed by the fact that he sha ...more
Anatoly Shneyer
May 05, 2016 Anatoly Shneyer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Well, this one did not work for me at all. I can understand it`s appeal to other readers but I never really got hooked and I can`t really put my finger on the reason why.
Jul 13, 2007 Avital rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
This was my first Graham Greene's novel. Oh, the ashes. Anything funnier? I laughed so much with the wild aunt and her nerd nephew, I couldn't wait to read his other comedies. Naturally, I was disappointed with his following books, which goes to show how subjective is each reading. Anyway, I'm over it now, and loving his books.
Carl R.
May 06, 2012 Carl R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A total departure from all others in the current list of Greenies I’ve been reading. It’s a, strangely believe it, comedy. And damned good. “I met my Aunt Augusta for the first time at my mother’s funeral” is the opener. Thus saith Henry Pulling, recently retired bank officer, dahlia cultivator, and all around stuffed shirt prude. Aunt Augusta, on the other hand, is a rip-snorting high liver with a criminal past and (as it turns out) future with a joie de vivre Henry can only dream of.

The main
Dec 14, 2015 Malia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2015
Slightly disappointing ending, but overall a lovely, thoughtful story.
Apr 02, 2015 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Travels With My Aunt

Aunt Augusta (Miss Bertram)
Henry Pulling (Mr. Pullen)
Wordsworth (Zachary)
Sir Alfred Keene
Miss Barbara Keene (Sir Alfred's daughter)
Detective-Sergeant John Sparrow
Jo (bookmaker, Henry's uncle)
Angelica (Henry's mother)
Mr. Visconti
Major Charge (Henry's neighbour)
Tooley. Lucinda O'Toole (teenage girl on the Istanbul Train) James O'Toole's daughter
General Abdul
Colonel Hakim
Miss Dorothy Patterson (Dolly)
Monsieur Dambreuse
Richard Pulling (Henry's father)
Charles Pottifer
Dec 16, 2015 Becky rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Insomniacs
Ugh. I was so utterly bored by this book that I wanted so badly to abandon it. But I forced myself to continue, even though I skimmed big chunks of it.

It just seemed like nothing was happening. And the things that DID happen annoyed me. Seriously, the "manservant" of the aunt you JUST met put marijuana in the urn containing your just-that-day-fresh mother's ashes, and that's just that? And then, when the police come to claim the urn for testing, they'll just need a tiny pinch so that they can t
Nov 18, 2014 BrokenTune rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to BrokenTune by: Petar X
I laughed out loud so many times reading this book.

It is sublime and it is subversive, and the dialogue between Aunt Augusta and Henry actually reminds me of some conversations I have had with my great-uncle, whose stories have influenced me in a similar way that Henry has been affected by his Aunt – except, of course, that neither of has been involved in smuggling, founding religious groups, or “the stage”... well, at least not that I know of. I should give him a ring again soon.

Having read Th
Rebecca Huston
I was very happy with this one, as middle aged banker Harry Pullings is yanked out of his dull, complacent retirement by his Aunt Augusta. Forced to travel with her across Europe and eventually Paraguay, he finds a world full of adventure and absurdity with all sorts of strange encounters, and shameless manipulation by dear Auntie. Overall, this gets five stars from me. Recommended.

For the longer review, please go here:
Mar 16, 2015 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The 2 stars are very generous. This book started out fairly interesting, then it just became dragging and neverending and turned out to be not-that-interesting. I only finished it out of sheer will.
Paula Vince
Mar 08, 2015 Paula Vince rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as part of my 2015 Reading Challenge for the category, 'A Book that came out the year you were Born.'

Henry Pulling is a middle-aged bachelor enjoying his early retirement and growing dahlias. He dislikes the unexpected and thrives on routine. It's clear that he's meant to come across as a bit stodgy and tame. (If the story was set now, Henry might turn out to be a computer game nerd, considered cool by many.) He meets his Aunt Augusta at his mother's funeral, for the first time
Travels With My Aunt is the story of Henry Pulling, a mild-mannered retired banker even suppose grumpy in a way, leading a quiet life growing dahlias.

He’s never been far from his Southwood, England home. When he is at his mother’s funeral he is reacquainted with his Aunt Augusta, and finds out what an eccentric and outrageous lady she and what changes she's about to bring to his tired little life.

Because of his Aunt, Henry finds himself involved in a series of exotic international adventures.

Feb 28, 2009 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
Written with the humanity typical of Greene, this is a story of a relationship between two highly contrasting personalities. One a staid ex-bank manager who's favourite pastime is taking care of his dahlias and the other an elderly lady (the aunt of the title) who wants to continue grabbing life by its horns and thereby living with the maximum excitement. Their travels take them to countries which contrast with the English staidness so encapsulated in the bankers character, but where the aunt fl ...more
Jul 01, 2016 Qi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read-books
Septuagenarian Augusta is a reckless, amoral, and dangerous relative, far more insistent and vital than the politely eccentric Uncle Fred of P.G.Wodehouse.

The author and most readers considered this book a mere “entertainment” instead of a proper novel, because it is hilariously funny, and wickedly so. Anyone can get some good laugh out of this maddening farcical drama of an early retired strait-laced bank-manager Henry dragged around dangerously by his aged aunt. But that hilarity is fun-house
Martha Koskina
Aug 02, 2013 Martha Koskina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Είναι το δεύτερο βιβλίο του Γκ. Γκρην που διάβασα και περίμενα όταν το άρχιζα πως θα ήταν στο κλιμα του Τέλους μιας σχέσης. Έπεσα πολύ έξω. Είναι ενα βιβλίο θεότρελο, αστείο και ενδιαφέρον, που αν δε σε σπρώξει στο να κάνεις αλλαγές στη ζωή σου, σίγουρα θα σε κάνει να αναλογιστείς τις επιλογές σου. Πέρασα πολύ ωραία με αυτό το βιβλίο και το συνιστώ ανεπιφύλακτα!
Mar 04, 2011 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Travels With my Aunt” is an absolute gem , with not a superfluous word to be found in the whole book. Lighter in content than much of Greene’s work, it is still thought provoking and challenging.
Henry Pulling, a late middle-aged , retired bank manager seems blinkered to the fact that his existence is dull - that in fact, he is imprisoned by the safety and monotony of his life. However, when he meets his 75 year old Aunt Augusta, we gradually realise, as Henry does, that life does not have to r
Jul 29, 2015 Terry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had always heard this book being referred to as an example of a good character study and a comedy and was surprised it took me so long to read it. The book I read has a lavender cover, with yellowed pages and looks like an antique on my bookshelf. That said, I expected the humor and dialogue to be a little dated. It was amusing and I liked the way the whole story of Augusta's life and how Henry came to be unfolded.
I watched the movie also - Maggie Smith was nominated for an academy award in t
Oct 19, 2014 Thais rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zia Augusta è fenomenale!
Mar 16, 2015 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT. (1969). Graham Greene. ***1/2.
Walter Mitty rides again, but this time as Greene’s character, Henry Pulling. Henry has recently retired from a managerial position at the bank, and plans to spent his time taking care of his dahlias. When his mother passes away, he attends the services in order to take possession of the ashes. While doing this, he meets his Aunt Augusta, whom he hasn’t seen for fifty years. To say the least, Augusta – who must be in her mid-seventies – is a pi
Jun 20, 2014 Andie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've just reread this book for the first time in probably 40 years and had forgotten how truly funny it is and what a change from most of the other things that Graham Greene wrote. Here there is no Catholic guilt, nor is there the nasty overtones (or undertones as the case may be) of the cold war. Instead we have a paen to silliness and a send-up of the typical characters who appear in Greene's more serious works - Most notably James O'Toole of the CIA.

Henry Pulling is a mild mannered retired ba
Apr 21, 2014 Mauro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that made me come to terms with Graham Greene.
There is a very thin line between those authors that hide behind their characters to voice their world vision and those whose literature is an excuse for sheer proselytism.
Graham G., truth be told, walks upon that line and very rarely steps on the proselytism side.
But I figured, readind Travels wMA, that maybe I only think so because he is a very good writer (in the sense that he can create ambiance and has a very strong authorial voice, thou
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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
More about Graham Greene...

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“Christmas it seems to me is a necessary festival; we require a season when we can regret all the flaws in our human relationships: it is the feast of failure, sad but consoling.” 62 likes
“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.” 49 likes
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