I’m outing myself as a Graham Green fan here. The consisting search for something more important, sincere, exciting in life that you find in all his main characters, combined with an underlying sense of loss and loneliness have always touched me.
Travels with my Aunt is one of the more light-hearted novels. It begins with the early-retired bank manager Henry Pulling meeting his rather glamorous aunt Augusta at his mother’s funeral. In the course of this first meeting he learns that his deceased mother had only adopted him, and the urn with her ashes is hilariously misused by Augustas much younger lover Wordsworth, who tries to hide marihuana in it.
As it turns out this first meeting marks a new beginning for Pulling, who has lead an absolutely regulated, boring life only highlighted by his love for dahlias, and who now, after the urn being confiscated by the police, joins his aunt on several voyages, listening to her colourful stories of her life and lovers and being led by her towards a somewhat less regulated existence.
All in all this is an absolutely warm-hearted satire (if something like this exists), letting the reader smile at human eccentricities while enjoying the wonderfully grotesque reminiscences that are woven into the plot.