©1992 Graham Greene; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. Salinger ^(;,;)^
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 he matured. But, for those who love Graham Greene's approach to literature and story-telling, this book is a must. Greene's characters are amazing in their capacity for love, sacfrice, betrayal and tragedy. That is what makes Greene's novels so compelling and his characters so beliveable.
Maloney does an admirable job at letting the novel speak for itself. He illuminates the text without distracting the reader from it.
I love reading (listening to) Greene. This is not really a 'spy thriller' as suggested by the "Publisher's Summary". It is a story about characters ranged on a spectrum of moral ambiguity; how they think and behave; and the consequences. The mystery is trying to guess where on the spectrum each character lies. Greene ties all strands as expected, but not, I think, as the reader might have chosen.
A story by Graham Greene that reminds us why he is regarded as a master story teller. The narration by Michael Maloney is superb--he does a wide array of voices with perfect pitch.
Greene has produced much better than this. The story is initially very promising with outstanding character descriptions leading to a climax in a snowy border town. It has all the makings of a great thriller, but in the end it is as if the author's inspiration deserts him and he wraps the whole thing up in a few paragraphs that are unsatisfying and inconclusive. The ending betrays the characters who have been constructed so carefully throughout the book. Good narration.
I confess this was my first exposure to Graham Greene's writing. And what a collection of characters.
To me, the story boils down to a heightened mix of good intentions, nobility and scrabbling criminality. Self-interest is trump.
The narration was excellent, the characterization was distinct without getting cartoony.
I'll probably come back to another Greene novel in the future.
I loved this book, and the narration. It gives you a good feel for Europe in the late 20's and early 30's.
One of his early works Greene said "In Stamboul Train for the first and last time in my life I deliberately set out to write a book to please, one which with luck might be made into a film. The devil looks after his own and I succeeded in both aims". Very well read, this is great reason to listen to books.
"Greene/Maloney - Audiobook Heaven!"
As a lifelong Graham Greene fan I have no hesitation in recommending any of his books to Audible listeners (except, perhaps, The Human Factor)and I am pleased to see so many recent Greene additions to the Audible catalogue. What makes this book special, however (Greene regarded it merely as one of his 'entertainments' i.e. not proper literature), is Michael Maloney's splendid narration. The book is set on the Orient Express, and the narrative is just as thrilling, but a bit more sophisticated, than the Agatha Christie story that is perhaps better known.
"Greene never disappoints"
OK Stamboul Train is one of Greene?s entertainments rather than a full blown novel but it does what it says, it entertains! I remember reading it 35 years ago working as a student in a petrol station and getting the sack because I couldn?t put it down to go an fill up Morris Minors with 3 star.
Re-reading it in this splendid audio version it is as compelling as ever but it is also a delightful period piece, set in the early thirties, it time slips back to the age of steam and Balkan intrigue and it pulls no punches on the attitudes to Jews, lesbians and show girls. Greene's voice is as human and sophisticated as ever and as ever the characters are vivid and complex.
What a book to dismiss as an Entertainment!
This is the first Greene book that I've downloaded. I was full of anticipation, but unfortunately I was so bored with the characters and the narration that I didn't finish it. Poor characterisation from the narrator that seems to become even more irritating the longer the book goes on!
"The Stamboul Train"
It was a long time since I had read a Greene and I was looking forward to listening to this on a few long drives in the car. To be fair the narrator had an easy style and kept the listener interest throughout. He was however a little too limited in the range of voices he had available for characterisation. In particular I thought the lead female voice was just wrong (even though she was supposed to have a deep voice)and another sounded just like her too. Unlike another reviewer, I did get to the end of the story, though I do think it suffered for the telling. All in all, I was a little disappointed
Beautifully written, wonderful pacing, fascinating characters, cruel, very well read, grown up.
Exciting thriller in the Eric Ambler mode with some Catholic guilt thrown in
Well read by the narrator as well
Graham Greene's first success as a writer and I can see why. Great characters and very well narrated.
"Intriguing and surprising"
An enjoyable "entertainment" to use Mr Greene's own description. At times overly descriptive to no real purpose but saved by the intrigue and characterization of the plot each time.
Its constant twists and turns and the use of the train as a 'vehicle' to introduce new characters and further interest into in the storyline.
Struggled a bit with the Mabel Green character but overall an excellent performance.
Love and intrigue in the Balkans
"very good, bit complicated"
another excellent story from greene, and well read. the complex use of language and multiple characters make it worth a second listen. as a book to relax to it needs a bit too much concentration.
"The Orient Express but better"
This for me is Greene at his best. Great characters fully developed, lovely setting (I love trains), cracking pacey plot. It is not his weightiest work but still thought provoking.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.