Shades Of Words

Travels with My Aunt

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As I am just a few weeks away from my trip to India and Istanbul, I was itching to read something to get me into the spirit of things. I started with Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul but the book was not what I was looking for. His Istanbul is black and white, always cold and inhabited by jinns. I am sure there is much more cheer as I read ahead but for now I put it away. I don’t know what it is with Pamuk and me. I love his writing, the prose is poetic, but I can never seem to get through any of his books in one go! I have started My Name is Red so many times and left it exactly at the same spot. Sigh.

Since I am such a fan of Graham Greene, I thought of giving “Travels with my Aunt” a shot. I really did not know what I was getting myself into. I had expected something funny and witty and in general a fictional travelogue. After having just completed the novel, one thing is for certain “Travels with my Aunt” is most definitely NOT a travelogue.

It’s a very strange but extremely entertaining story of Henry Pulling, a middle aged lonely banker, who meets his estranged Aunt Agatha after fifty years. The aunt than literally hijacks his life (and the novel) and takes him and us the readers along with us on a journey across continents, both in the past and present.

Greene wrote the book for “the fun of it” and you can tell. It’s full of ridiculous characters, unbelievable escapades involving war criminals, smugglers, CIAs and despotic generals and you along with Pulling you try keep pace with jaws hanging open.

While I enjoyed reading it, I was also trying to get through it, because it did not possess the slow melancholy quality of Greene’s works, which seep into your psyche with every word.  There is this one incident in the book where Aunt Agatha tells Henry why she prefers romantic novels to Walter Scott – “It moves a great deal quicker and there are fewer descriptions”.

It wouldn’t be completely unfair to say the same about Travels with My Aunt. I did like it though, because Greene has flexed his literary muscle to create a comical delight which at times is funny, predictable and sad.

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Author: Vipula

Before talking about who we are, we’d like to tell you a bit about how and why Shades of Words came into being. It all started with the idea of “A place where we could share with likeminded people about things we enjoy. From books to music to movies to travel; Shades of Words was to be a place about the best of our experiences” We thought about why should anyone read us? The answer was that whatever we review would be a mix of our experience of the thing along with interesting and useful information about it. So in case you are reading us regularly or even checking us out once in a while then we have succeeded in our efforts someway somewhere. Who are we? Known as Kapil Sood and Vipula Gupta, we thought of Shades of Words on one fine Sunday afternoon. Tired of writing interesting RFP’s and project documentation; we decided to give this a shot. Yes! We work in Indian IT industry. Cupid struck us while were innocently slogging together on the highly intricate job of formatting and beautifying documents! And since then, we have been working together to establish Shades of Words as a place that we can claim as ours. (Because buying a house is still years away!) What else? Kapil also writes some blogs which you can read here and here.

2 thoughts on “Travels with My Aunt

  1. Great. In your review, you have exactly done what the book did to you. I think this review too, moves a great deal quicker and there are fewer descriptions.

    But, I feel exactly the same way about O.Pamuk. I am not able to complete his book when I start.

  2. @Sleepyfaces – Ha ha – I know the review is not exactly deep. But I just did not have anything to express on the book!

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