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Stamboul Train

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  4,274 ratings  ·  429 reviews
Published in 1932 as an 'entertainment', Graham Greene's gripping spy thriller unfolds aboard the majestic Orient Express as it crosses Europe from Ostend to Istanbul.

Weaving a web of subterfuge, murder and politics along the way, the novel focuses upon the disturbing relationship between Myatt, the pragmatic Jew, and naive chorus girl Coral Musker as they engage in a desp
Paperback, 216 pages
Published November 3rd 1992 by Penguin Classics (first published 1932)
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Warren If you have librarian status you can add it as another edition, or as an alternative cover edition. Otherwise if you provide all the details in a comm…moreIf you have librarian status you can add it as another edition, or as an alternative cover edition. Otherwise if you provide all the details in a comment, including perhaps a link to a cover image, I could add it for you.(less)

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I like Greene, I liked that the book was entertaining, social commentary and political all at the same time, a hallmark of Greene novels. What I didn't like and what really upset me, is the marking out of someone as Jewish. Rant follows! If you are not Christian, not White or not able-bodied you might well identify with it.

I have no idea if anyone else in the story, in many, many stories, newspaper articles, tv reportage, online news sites, are Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist or White. But Jews,
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017


Richard John, with his mackintosh turned up above his ears, leant from the corridor window and saw the sheds begin to move backwards towards the slow wash of the sea. It was the end, he thought, and the beginning. Faces streamed away. A man with a pickaxe on his shoulder swung a red lamp; the smoke from the engine blew round him and obscured his light. The brakes ground, the clouds parted, and the setting sun flashed on the line, the window and his eyes. If I could sleep, he thought with
3.5 ⭐
My first Greene.
Although he himself called this one to be an "entertainment" as compared to his other works, The Stamboul Train was anything but that. This is a thriller set during 1930s infused with themes of anti-semitism, communism, love, lust, homosexuality, crime & punishment (justified?).
To me more than the story, it was Greene's writing that left a lasting impression. Definitely going to add his other books to my TBR pile.
Julian Worker
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book even though the version I read was called Stamboul Train, which was the original title I believe. There's something exhilarating about stories set on trains where the carriages are so narrow and the world outside is so wide, even though it is only glimpsed as it speeds by.
I didn't like any of the characters as they were written except for the journalist who was trying to do her job. All the others were escaping from reality or going to meet it head on. I marvel at Greene's var
May 05, 2014 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
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
This novel is one of his 'entertainments' personally categorized by himself to differentiate them from his other serious thrillers (how many titles overall belong to this less serious genre?) of which its title has long kept me wondering till I found out in the Wikipedia website ( that Stamboul is a variant of Istanbul, the capital of Turkey, the novel's destination of the Orient Express the famous line starting from Ostend, Belgium connecting Europe and ...more
Jan 31, 2011 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 lesby 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. Ther ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: adventure, 2018, fiction
Greene has once again created an assortment of memorable misfits: a pushy, possessive, female, English journalist with her attractive, seemingly-flighty, young companion; a shrewd, young Jewish businessman and his colleagues in Constantinople; a mysterious, middle-aged doctor whose past unfolds during the journey; a penny-less dancer in search of love; a proud author, plus other characters acquired along the route.

They are east-bound on a train to Constantinople. In the beginning I could not se
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
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A crew of assorted and colourful passengers board the Stamboul Train or the Orient Express from Ostend and are bound for the unmapped depths of Eastern Europe, each one of them holding deep, dark secrets in their souls that soon spill out as the train lurches at each halt in the journey.

In the hands of any other aspiring writer in the 1930s, 'Stamboul Train' would have been content to be a safe-playing potboiler that happens to feature an eventful ride on the opulent Orient Express as a mere pl
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 bringing more tro ...more
Michael Perkins
Jan 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Greene’s first three published novels were failures. He was desperate for this one to succeed.

Greene later labeled it one of his “entertainments” but, as Christopher Hitchens says in his Introduction, it doesn’t fit with the other books Greene classifies thus.

It’s certainly not an entertainment in the style of Murder on the Orient Express

His main weakness in this book, as others have observed, is that, unlike most of his best books, he’s inclined to stereotypes, but agree with Hitchens that the
Miriam Cihodariu
I read the novel in one of its first editions, under its original title, Stamboul Train. It has a typical British detective story feel, but the motivations and backgrounds of the main characters are described through the lens of pure talent. You can tell right away that such insights are sketched by a master of understanding and portraying the human soul, even if it's among his first works.

I empathized with Coral, who gets the worst deal from fate, due to circumstances but also due to the gratu
I much prefer “Stamboul Train” the original UK title. I picked this short book up out of curiosity mainly. I count The Quiet American as one of the best books I have read ever and I have a real soft spot for Greene as a result.

The back of the Bantam paperback I read (as well as its risqué cover) would have had me believe that this was a spy novel along the lines of Ian Fleming. But it wasn’t that at all, although there was some sex and intrigue. But it also had characters pondering morals and th
Bruce Beckham
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it

Discovering this gem of a book brought with it a whole host of surprises – not least that it proved to be a real page-turner, bursting with 'colour' in Graham Greene’s inimitable monochrome style (if you see what I mean).

Stamboul is of course Istanbul and the train the Orient Express – that this is a journey of death and intrigue published two years before the eponymous Agatha Christie murder mystery was another revelation to me.

For two novels, so close in time, title and substance
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 the
Jan 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Carleton Myatt meets Coral Musker on the train to Stamboul, and they both meet Joseph Grunlich, Doctor Czinner, Janet Pardoe, Mr Q.C Savory and Mable Warren. The story explores people's reason for being on the train and the adventures they hope to find or are in fact escaping.

The train makes a three-day journey from Ostend to Istanbul where the majority of the book's passengers join from the ferry from England; others join and leave at Cologne, Vienna or Subotica in Serbia.

The book is enjoyable
Sharon Barrow Wilfong
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story takes place mostly on a train. They are traveling ultimately to Istanbul. Some are getting off at Vienna, some to Budapest, others all the way to Istanbul. We have a variety of characters. When we first meet them we don't know who any of them are, but as their lives intertwine, sometimes colliding, we discover that someone is traveling on business, another is a chorus girl, another a famous writer, one is a crook, one is a rapid reporter who by accident discovers yet another passenger ...more
Feb 02, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usmlibrary
Entertaining and thought-provoking, and so well written. Greene includes quite a mix of characters, and weaves an interesting story. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
May 24, 2012 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
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
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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.
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: real-books, 2018
9 OCT 2018 - Well-written and peopled with individuals who hide behind caricatures of who they really are (or intend to be).
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 HER cha
Mar 19, 2014 rated it liked it
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.
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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 a t
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2017 Reading Chal...: The Orient Express by Graham Greene 1 27 Jan 27, 2015 11:01AM  

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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

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