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Travels With My Aunt

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  9,388 ratings  ·  753 reviews
The novel follows the travels of Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager, and his eccentric Aunt Augusta as they find their way across Europe, and eventually even further afield. Aunt Augusta pulls Henry away from his quiet suburban existence into a world of adventure, crime and the highly-unconventional details of her past.
Paperback, 272 pages
Published 1971 by Penguin (first published 1969)
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3.83  · 
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 ·  9,388 ratings  ·  753 reviews

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Jul 11, 2014 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
Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of British Lit.
Recommended to Florence (Lefty) by: Better Eggs
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
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Travels with my Aunt’ (1969) is certainly the funniest book by Graham Greene that I have read so far. It tells us the entertaining story of Henry Pulling our very conservative, socially compliant, dull and boring erstwhile bank manager of some years standing. Henry encounters the eponymous ‘Aunt’ – Augusta for the first time in 50 years and as the title suggests, almost involuntarily, embarks on said ‘travels’.

So whilst at first glance ‘Travels with my Aunt’ is ostensibly not as profound nor in
Vit Babenco
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“…and in any case I have a weakness for funerals. People are generally seen at their best on these occasions, serious and sober, and optimistic on the subject of personal immortality.”
Graham Greene has at once won my attention with his subtle irony – for me it is the best kind of wit.
Protagonist and narrator, Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager is a very timorous and highly introvertive man.
This is the boy: “Too many books by too many authors can be confusing, like too many shirts and suits. I
Smiley (aka umberto)
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Since some years ago I’ve tried to read this seemingly readable “Travels With My Aunt” but it’s a pity I could read no more than 8-10 pages and left it on its stack, more than once. So last month I decided to read it hoping to enjoy this fiction like his six ones, I’ve found his ‘intoxicating entertainment’ (GR synopsis) amazing and worth spending my time. Like I said somewhere, I started by reading its brief synopsis as an essential overview as well as the one from Wikipedia at https://en.wikip ...more
Sep 13, 2011 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

Travels with My Aunt really cemented my love for Graham Greene. I had previously read two of his books, and I always had the nagging suspicion that he was a very witty writer, but the drama and the somber aspect of the novels I read didn’t give him much space to indulge in witticisms. Travels with my Aunt has all the ingredients of a very funny tale: an eccentric, sexually liberated woman, an uptight conservative nephew, colorful characters, love, intrigue, and shifty Italians. It also feel
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
I thought this book would be a non-fiction travelogue of driving around Europe with Graham Greene and an aunt of his.

Wrong. It is a fictitious account of Henry Pulling a never-married bachelor in his fifties whose greatest adventure has been creating accounts for wealthy clients at his bank. He has now retired and enjoys quiet days cultivating his precious dahlias. Then his aunt arrives on the scene.

It starts at the funeral of his mother. While Pulling is sitting there in the crematorium funeral
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, britain, fiction
Somehow I thought this book was going to be a lighthearted romp. Funny it was, but in a sad, meditative way as Henry Pulling comes under the influence of his Aunt Augusta Bertram. I should have known better: Graham Greene is not the romping type. That takes a particular kind of character, one which does not look at life with the calm grey eyes of the author of The Heart of the Matter and The Burnt-Out Case.

Travels With My Aunt is a delightful book -- one that could easily have gone off in severa
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
Lyn Elliott
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction
Read years ago and it still stands out as very, very funny. So have added it to favourites.
Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene - Penguin Classics

'Does he speak English or French?'
'It is not likely.' I felt hopelessly abroad.

The book is unequally divided into two parts, the first taking up most of it. I will have to separate them in my review, for they inspired very different feelings.

The Good Stuff (about Part 1)

"You must surrender yourself first to extravagance"

- it is well written, as you expect a classic work of literature to be;
- it was funny, even outrageous and surprising at times, in a way I didn't expect a classic work of lit
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
Jul 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to BrokenTune by: Better Eggs
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
Sep 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I wasn't sure what to make of this novel at first. I was set to give it 2 stars, but after the tedium of Aunt Augusta's stories (she's highly offended when Henry, pleading tiredness, doesn't want to listen to one of her stories at the moment, but I understood 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 mine. It's as we
May 04, 2016 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.
'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
Apr 28, 2014 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
Apr 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reviews
Travels With My Aunt tells the story of a retired bank manager, Henry Pulling, whose dull suburban life is forever changed by his elderly Aunt Augusta, who convinces him to come travelling with her. A riotous romp across Europe and later South America ensues, but as the story progresses the belly laughs and hilarious moments give way to increasingly darker undertones.

At its core, the book poses an intriguing question: what is it to lead a good life? Is excitement and adventure better than leadin
Aug 20, 2008 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
Nov 20, 2013 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
Jul 13, 2007 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.
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henry Pulling, a retired bank manager in his fifties, meets his Aunt Augusta for the first time since he was a baby, at his mother’s funeral. Before he knows where he is, this irrepressible aunt has lured him away from his beloved dahlias and involved him in shady dealings and journeys with ulterior motives, first to Brighton, then on the Orient Express to Istanbul.

I thought this was hilarious, especially in the beginning. Aunt Augusta with her devoted lovers is a great character. The story gets
The other night at dinner I told a friend I was reading a book that I thought she would like. When I told her it was Graham Greene's Travels with my Aunt she was ebullient, while our other friend said, "I will never read another book by THAT man." The three of us had all read Journeys without Maps together. My fellow G. G. fan declared she must, just must read The Quiet American. I backed her up with acclaim for The Heart of the Matter, which I said was my favorite. When I started thinking thoug ...more
Carl R.
May 06, 2012 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
Jul 26, 2011 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
"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...."

The only part of the book I liked
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slightly disappointing ending, but overall a lovely, thoughtful story.

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Paula Vince
Mar 08, 2015 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
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Guardian Newspape...: December 2018 - Travels With My Aunt 16 19 Jan 03, 2019 02:29PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Possible duplicate 2 11 Mar 02, 2018 08:03PM  
Editions 1 7 Mar 11, 2015 05:21PM  

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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
“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.” 78 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.” 53 likes
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