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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2006
Format: Audio CD
In this novel, Graham Greene tells the story of seven main characters who all embark on a train journey from Ostend to Istanboul. Coral Musker, a good natured variety dancer with a bad heart, Dr Richard John, Myatt Carleston, a Jewish tradesman dealing in currants, Mr Opie, a clergyman, Janet Pardoe and Mabel Warren, a couple of lesbian women, Dr Richard Czinner, a famous socialist agitator who disappeared from Belgrade five years before and is now returning to his country to stand trial and finally Joseph Grünlich, a notorious Viennese thief and murderer.

As the story unfolds, more and more is revealed to the reader about the characters' past, some having had a rather shady existence. Mr Greene skilfully shows how different personalities react and behave in a sort of mental struggle once they are thrown together and forced to spend three days in the confined space of a railway carriage. A short, tense and disturbing novel which shows that one rarely escapes one's fate. The reader, Michael Maloney, performs a commendable act, using an wide variety of accents. An excellent audiobook.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I found the book absorbing and very true to life. Greene doesn't need me to sing his praises, but I love his characterizations, breaking through "type" to get under comfort zones to a deeper level of humanity. I also find his spare and stark view of character disturbing, as one finds it in "real" life -- including myself. Few saints and loads of sinners. Usually both are seriously flawed.
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on September 19, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I expected a classic and I suppose it is but it didn't zing me. The author was certainly one of the great authors of the 20th century. The book is set on the Orient Express as it existed 80 years ago. The characters were less interesting than I had hoped. The adventure less than I expected. In this case, something longer would have made a better read. It all felt superficial.
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on December 1, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Good book, but you advertise an introduction by Christopher Hitchens, and it's missing in my digital edition. Not so good, after all.
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on July 25, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
As a first time Graham Greene reader I'll admit that I initially struggled with his unique style of writing but the story captured me and I plowed through - well worth the effort.
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on February 2, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Not Graham Greene's most enjoyable book. I couldn't really engage with the characters and the setting was really quite dreary.
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on November 24, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Vintage, early Greene but still hugely entertaining. Trans-Europe train trip that's full of thrills and spills - mostly blood! Far better on the page than on film.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
A sad cynicism lies at the root of Greene's dark humor in this very early (1932) novel, Greene's fourth book and the first entertainment to be written and published for a wide audience. A Jewish businessman, a lesbian journalist, her rebellious young companion, a dancer in need of a job, a Socialist physician wanted in Serbia for treason, and an Austrian thief meet and interact aboard the Orient Express on a trip from London to Istanbul (Stamboul).

Each person in this motley group hopes that some remarkable change will occur to him or her as a result of the trip, but though all eventually get their wish, fate has something devious up its sleeve for each one. These twists and turns, sometimes humorous and sometimes immensely sad, constitute the heart of the novel.

Unlike Greene's later novels, with their fully developed characters and religious themes, this novel's characters are often stereotypes, and the action is often designed simply to bring the characters down, showing that no matter what dreams or goals they may have, that ultimately they have no control over their destinies. Greene's later, much more intensely realized themes--sin and atonement, innocence and guilt, love of life and fear of death, piety and corruption, sex and religion--are missing here.

As the action unfolds and the characters are manipulated, the reader easily recognizes the "bones" of the themes which will later evolve in Greene's mature philosophical novels. As a series of tours de force, and as a glimpse into the creative process of a writer who, at this point, was just beginning to come into his own, this is an intriguing novel, loaded with insights, a fascinating and enjoyable read. Mary Whipple
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2009
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
My experience of this book is the audiobook on CD.

The audiobook is well done. The narration is clearly spoken. The tracks are self-contained, so each is a little story, with completed sentences. The tracks are but a few minutes each, which is a comfortable length.

The story itself intrigues the listener, and makes us eager for more. This master author gives us characters with distinct personalities and motives.
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