Stamboul Train by Graham Green

I bought this book 40 years ago, in April 1982 (cover price £1.35!) and read it then. I decided to pick it up again this summer.

Greene described Stamboul Train as an entertainment, in order to distinguish it from his more serious literary works. It is the story of a journey on the Orient Express, from the point when the passengers embark in Ostend, having taken a ferry from England, to arrival in Istanbul. There are dramatic interludes in places where the train stops – Cologne, Vienna, and Subotica in what was Yugoslavia. We see the interaction between the characters, and events of real drama in the Yugoslav police state.

One thing that struck me was the anti-semitic attitudes shown by many of the middle class and upper middle class English characters towards a Jewish businessman. Thankfully times have changed.

But 40 years after I first read it, this story remains fun. 9 out of 10.


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