In Travels with my Aunt by Graham Greene, the narrator, while at his mother's funeral, recollects his late father's unusual sleeping habits, and his mother's comic attempts to put a stop to them.
It is a revealing portrait of an eccentric family by a man who has recently retired.
A man who thinks his life is over.
But this man's destiny is about to change thanks to his aunt, who he will meet again at the funeral.
She will lead him on a series of surreal adventures that will take them to the far side of the world.
And she'll remind him that the best of life is yet to come.
"My father had been dead for more than forty years. He was a building contractor of a lethargic disposition who used to take afternoon naps in all sorts of curious places. This irritated my mother, who was an energetic woman, and she used to seek him out to disturb him. As a child I remember going to the bathroom – we lived in Highgate then – and finding my father asleep in the bath in his clothes. I am rather short-sighted and I thought that my mother had been cleaning an overcoat, until I heard my father whisper, “Bolt the door on the inside when you go out”. He was too lazy to get out of the bath and too sleepy, I suppose, to realize that his order was quite impossible to carry out. At another time, when he was responsible for a new block of flats in Lewisham, he would take his catnap in the cabin of the giant crane, and construction would be halted until he woke. My mother, who had a good head for heights, would climb ladders to the highest scaffolding in the hope of discovering him, when as like as not he would have found a corner in what was to be the underground garage. I had always thought of them as reasonably happy together: their twin roles of the hunter and the hunted probably suited them, for my mother by the time I first remembered her had developed an alert poise of the head and a wary trotting pace which reminded me of a gun-dog. I must be forgiven these memories of the past: at a funeral they are apt to come unbidden, there is so much waiting about."