And with this book, I declare all my reading challenges for 2012 completed!
Graham Greene Reading Challenge 2012
Travels with my Aunt is my third and final installment for the Graham Greene Reading Challenge hosted by Carrie of Books and Movies. My previous two titles are The Quiet American (1955) and The End of the Affair (1951).
Here they are. Look at the book covers, all from the Penguin Classics Graham Greene Centennial Edition (2004), trade paperbacks with French flaps. It’s a delight to just hold them in my hands:
Travels with my Aunt (1969) is my first taste of Greene humor. Compared to the other two I’ve read, which are intense and deeply serious, this one is a light comic relief.
A conservative, retired bank manager Henry Pulling found a new relative at his mother’s funeral, his Aunt Augusta. She is everything he is not, an eccentric and liberal seventy-five-year-old sets to open a whole new world for his nephew. Upon Aunt Augusta’s insistence, Henry accompanies her travelling in Europe. In the process, she widens his contacts with some shady characters, opens his eyes to an underground world he has never imagined, leaves his trails with police investigations, and overturns his carefully guarded self into disarray.
The humor in Travels with my Aunt reminds me of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, and makes me think that, if it were written as a play, probably it would have been more effective and enjoyable.
I mean, considering it takes Greene only 180 pages to tell the complex story of The Quiet American, and 160 pages to depict the deeply conflicting The End of the Affair, why would he need 254 pages to jot down some travel notes. That’s right, he narrates in details and often digresses to leave us with some clever one-liners along the way. But, if he had picked up the pace a bit, and tightened up like the two previous books I read, I would have appreciated it much more. Okay, it’s selfish wishful thinking on my part, me being a very slow and easily diverted reader.
Ireland Reading Challenge 2012
And earlier in November, I’d finished The Ireland Reading Challenge 2012 also hosted by Carrie at Books and Movies. I aimed at the ‘Shamrock Level’ and read four books of at least three different genres. Here are my selections and links to my reviews:
Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden (Novel)
Everything in this Country Must by Colum McCann (Short Stories)
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (Play)
Dubliners by James Joyce (Short Stories and Novella)
No plans for taking up any Reading Challenge for 2013 yet. However, I do have two Read-Along’s planned for the coming year. Hope you can join me then. Will post soon.