Our Man In Havana: An Introduction By Christopher Hitchens
- Publication Date:
- 06 April 2001
- Modern & Contemporary
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Graham Greene's entertainments are very much alike, just like Dick Francis mystery novels. But they are so much better than Dick Francis novels.This entertainment is particularly enjoyable. It contains all the usual Greene tropes assembled in the most appealing manner. The characters are thin and tremendously enjoyable. The dialogue is drily witty and occasionally hilarious. There are tragic deaths and miserable lives. Minor characters are, inevitably, killed but not for the usual Hollywood reasons. Rather their deaths are utterly tragic and symbolic of the casualties of global conflict. There are cynical policemen and alcoholics of every profession. As in "The Ministry of Fear" and "The Third Man" the protagonist's minor actions set into motion important and inevitably tragic events. He gets the girl, but soberly, and in a mad, arbitrary, and merciless world.Jeremy Northam's reading is excellent.
Very funny, cold war story, about a vaccum cleaner repairman who needs money and spies who need something to spy upon. Well written, fast moving, great characters, happy ending. Companion to Catch 22.
Very funny and well written book. The easy wit of Greene's Wormold reminded me a lot of Christopher Moore's protagonist from "Dirty Job" - or perhaps I should say that Moore reminds me of Greene. In any case, I enjoyed both the humor of Greene's dialogue and the absurdity of the plot while not missing the attention spent on the vibrancy of the Cuban backdrop.
He is just a man, an ordinary man, one who keeps to himself. He sells vacuum cleaners during the day and spends teatime at the Wonder Bar with his friend Dr. Hasselbacher. Raising a teenage daughter, he seems never to be alone, but he is. He carries with him a slight ache for the ex-wife who left him for another.As a salesman for the Phastkleaners Vacuum Company, his money is tight. His salary lacks the elasticity to indulge his beautiful, young daughter’s requests. This month she wishes for a horse. Next month it will be new outfits for her seventeenth birthday. Mr. Wormold is in need of a raise.Who knew London had their eyes on him and during his most vulnerable time?It is a normal, everyday day when the stranger enters his shop. The stranger asks some odd questions such as, “You are British, aren’t you?” with a “British passport and all that?” Yes, Mr. Wormold is from England and currently working in Havana, Cuba. The stranger explains that he likes to do business with British firms.At this announcement, Wormold feels comfortable and begins to show his new friend the showroom models. They proceed to the Turbo, run along the wall to the Turbo Jet, suggest a Midget-Make Easy for the office, and then round the room, ending at the top-of-the-line Atomic Pile. Here Wormold stops to display the snap-action coupling.Later that day, Wormold, by happenstance, meets the stranger again at the Wonder Bar. The stranger offers him a job as London’s newest secret agent 59200/5. His new side job comes with perks, too. Agent 59200/5 can hire his own secret agents which will be paid through London.Ah, here is an answer to his financial woes. With a few drinks, pen, and paper, five new sub-agents are born. They may live and reside in Cuba, but it is by Wormold’s own imagination they participate in espionage. Unbeknownst to these phantom operates, a horse, stable, and new membership to the Havana Country Club has been made in their names.This is not your typical 007 spy, and I love it! Graham Greene’s "Our Man in Havana" is extremely entertaining even though it was written in 1958; uncannily, prior to Fidel Castro’s rebel forces overtook Batista’s dictatorial government.
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