©1992 Graham Greene; (P)2008 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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