The Book Trotters, a newly formed book club made up of members from Vickery Place, Belmont Addition and Lakewood neighborhoods held its first meeting on Monday evening, August 6, at the home of Kathy Harris in Vickery Place.
English author Graham Greene's 1960's novel, Travels with My Aunt, was the first book selected for the read and discuss group. Green had said of Travels, "It was the only book I have written just for the fun of it." And fun it was! It evoked a lively discussion by the ladies that included quotes from the book and personal analogies.
It is the story of Henry Pulling, a retired and complacent bank manager, who meets his septuagenarian Aunt Augusta at a funeral, a funeral he supposes to be his mother’s. Aunt Augusta soon persuades Henry to abandon his dull suburban life, leave his beloved garden of dahlias, and travel with her, her way.
Henry and his unconventional aunt travel to Brighton, Paris, Venice, Istanbul, and Paraguay. Along the way, they join up with dubious characters, including hippies, war criminals and the CIA. They smoke pot and indulge in other shady activities.
While on the journey, Henry learns much about his eccentric aunt: she once ran a church for dogs; her many loves and lovers; and her view of life - "never, never despise”. Henry also learns much about himself and about his parents, including the identity of his real mother.
To help bring the adventures of Henry and Aunt Augusta to life, foods from destinations visited in the story were served at the meeting. They included tea sandwiches, English Stilton, antipasti, empanadas, hummus, scones, macaroons. And, of course, vases of Henry’s beloved dahlias were scattered about the room.
A narrative of engaging characters, memorable places and thought provoking situations, Travels With My Aunt got the Book Trotters off to a delightful start.