Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

Travels With My Aunt

Travels With My Aunt: Graham Greene, December 9—17, 2014
My rating: ♦◊◊◊◊

TravelsWithMyAuntTravels With My Aunt sees retired banker Henry reconnect with his estranged aunt at his mother’s funeral, fifty years after they last saw each other. His aunt soon convinces him to travel with her as she shares the story of her life.

There is an interesting idea at the core of Travels. In her seventies, the titular Aunt Augusta is reflecting on the characters, settings and plots that made up her life. Everybody has a story, and this is hers.

There are always two narratives: present day (1969) and the aunt’s past as she tells it. Neither is particularly interesting. Whenever we are in the present day, we feel the aunt’s reminiscing is interrupted, and whenever she begins talking it feels as though the present day is being neglected. Simply, neither time period has any particular plot to speak of.

For Travels to be a decent character piece, it requires some strong characters. Henry is a decent audience surrogate, who learns of his aunt’s life apace with us, but is utterly boring and without any distinguishing personality features. Aunt Augusta is a matriarchal battle-axe, but more by reputation and just grumpily tells her uninspiring stories; most a variation on the theme of her dalliances with men.

Stronger characterisation and a more developed plot could have made this idea into a masterpiece. Instead, it is a dull and dreary journey that drags on for far too long.

  • Thanks to the patient who recommended this to me while were in hospital together in September, and happy 80th birthday!

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This entry was posted on December 17, 2014 by in 1 star and tagged .

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@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare