Our Man in Havana

Our Man in Havana Graham Greene s classic Cuban spy story now with a new package and a new introduction First published in Our Man in Havana is an espionage thriller a penetrating character study and a politic

Graham Greene s classic Cuban spy story, now with a new package and a new introduction First published in 1959, Our Man in Havana is an espionage thriller, a penetrating character study, and a political satire that still resonates today Conceived as one of Graham Greene s entertainments, it tells of MI6 s man in Havana, Wormold, a former vacuum cleaner salesman turned rGraham Greene s classic Cuban spy story, now with a new package and a new introduction First published in 1959, Our Man in Havana is an espionage thriller, a penetrating character study, and a political satire that still resonates today Conceived as one of Graham Greene s entertainments, it tells of MI6 s man in Havana, Wormold, a former vacuum cleaner salesman turned reluctant secret agent out of economic necessity To keep his job, he files bogus reports based on Lamb s Tales from Shakespeare and dreams up military installations from vacuum cleaner designs Then his stories start coming disturbingly true.

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Our Man in Havana

  1. Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, travel writer and critic whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world Greene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity.Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a Catholic novelist rather than as a novelist who happened to be Catholic, Catholic religious themes are at the root of much of his writing, especially the four major Catholic novels Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair, and The Power and the Glory Works such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana and The Human Factor also show an avid interest in the workings of international politics and espionage Excerpted from

598 Reply to “Our Man in Havana”

  1. Graham Greene is one of the most highly regarded British authors of the 20th century The American novelist John Irving has paid tribute to him, calling him, the most accomplished living novelist in the English language Very popular as a thriller writer, writing entertainments , as he called them, Graham Greene also wrote deeply serious Catholic novels, which received much literary acclaim, although he never actually won the Nobel prize for Literature In these he examined contemporary moral and p [...]

  2. This is one of Graham Greene s thrillers which he labeled as entertainments as a warning to his audience not to take these books seriously Our Man in Havana definitely needs such a warning There is no reason to take the book seriously at all.The plot is promising Havana vacuum cleaner Wormold, owner of an Havana vacuum cleaner shop, hard pressed to satisfy the expensive tastes horses, country club of his beautiful, manipulative and motherless teenage daughter, decides when recruited by MI6 to pa [...]

  3. I had come across two lists mentioning the top 100 mystery crime novels some time back Both the lists one by Britain based Crime Writers Association and the other by Mystery Writers of America, contained multiple books by Graham Greene You can find both the lists here Link The CWA list was published in 1990 and the MWA list in 1995 Pretty long time back but the books included are very fine specimens of crime writing.I had read Greene s The Human Factor long time back and for some reason that boo [...]

  4. Who ever knew that Graham Greene could be so funny This is fine entertainment, although as always influenced by Greene s view on morality and fate Not that that s bad, because Greene does it so well.This idea about inventing a spy network and going along with the deception reminds me of the story of Agent Garbo during WWII.

  5. This is a fun read, the story of an accidental spy Mr Wormold love that name sells vacuum cleaners in Havana, not very successfully, until one day he is recruited by a British agent to work for his country while living in that no longer romantic foreign outpost To be a secret agent Well the story takes off from there with a cast of slightly crazy characters Wormold s religiously manipulative daughter Milly, Captain Segura the head of the local police who has mastered torture, locals of varying n [...]

  6. This is the first of Graham Greene s novels I ve read that is classed as one of his entertainments so I wasn t at all sure what to expect The style, tone and nature of Our Man in Havana clearly has a very different feel to his serious novels Heart of the Matter , End of the Affair et al and as such is quite distinct from that oeuvre Our Man in Havana is very well written as you would expect from Graham Greene and is certainly very entertaining, very funny throughout The plot is ostensibly based [...]

  7. Greene divided his own fiction between the novels and stories he considered serious, such as The Heart of the Matter, and those he viewed as lighter entertainments This relatively short 247 pages and not all of them with text novel is one of the latter and like many of the entertainments it draws on the author s World War Ii experiences as a spy for Britain s M 16 intelligence agency And it s obvious here that these weren t experiences he looked back on fondly Set in pre Castro Cuba, it also dr [...]

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed this Graham Greene novel What a treat It s a cold war spy novel taking place in the late 50s in Havana pre Castro The protagonist, Wormold, is a peddler of vacuum cleaners who is asked to spy for MI6 Of course, Wormold is about the worst candidate you could possibly find to be a spy But he takes the job anyway, mainly so he can dote financially on his teenage daughter, Milly Our Man in Havana is a humorous satire on the the cold war spy era Greene especially takes aim at the [...]

  9. spoilers Uncorrected Transcript of Oral EvidenceTaken before the Intelligence and Security Committee Tuesday 15 July 1958Members present Mr Paul Anderson, in the ChairMr Jonathan BlakeleyMr Richard Cunningham QCWitnesses MR JAMES WORMOLD, O.B.E former SIS operative in Havana, Cuba, 1955 1957 and MRS BEATRICE WORMOLD NEE SEVERN , formerly a secretary at the SIS headquarters.Q1 Chairman Mr and Mrs Wormold, may I welcome you to this hearing, which purpose is to examine the veracity of the contents [...]

  10. Graham Greene always amazed me as he wrote about topical subjects before they became topical.It s a funny thing I read this book several decades ago along with all the other Graham Greene books the Paul Hogarth illustrated covers series by Penguin Then last week a local theatre company put on this play so I couldn t resist To be honest I vaguely remembered this story At times I thought it seemed a little dated now it s a period piece but the mixture of black humour and Greene s plot line lived u [...]

  11. Even though this is one of Graham Greene s entertainments , it is his own real employment with MI6 during WW2 that adds layers to this otherwise light hearted satire on the British Secret Service Here Greene has written a story of a British citizen Wormold living in Havana in the early 1950s during the Batista regime He is a dour middle aged vacuum cleaner salesman with a bombshell 16 year old daughter, Milly, whose burgeoning sexuality is at odds with her Catholic morality something she has inh [...]

  12. Graham Greene s Our Man in Havana is a delightful farce that manages to be serious and laugh out loud funny at the same time It follows the unfortunate Wormold, a British vacuum cleaner salesman in Havana whose shortage of funds finds him willing to accept an offer to join the British Intelligence Service As a generally inept and careless person, he can do any actual spying, so he ends up sending fake reports back to London so that he can use his expense fund to pay for his daughter s many expen [...]

  13. I had read this book many years ago and remember it as a farcical lampoon But I had not remembered it was such a sophisticated piece of writing Catholicism, anti American, criticism of England s treatment of it s Empire, the arrogance of the English class system, and a clarity as to what drove the cold war along were all covered Greene also included lots of whisky, drinking and bars.The characters were great The mundane, underachieving vacuum seller Wormold, his half nun half vixen daughter, the [...]

  14. A brilliant, hilarious read of espionage and pompous civil servants who are so inept they re not fit to run a chip shop Perhaps not so funny if you ve worked for the civil service and you realise that the story is entirely feasible Uncannily reminiscent of The Tailor of Panama A spymaster and an expat on the ground in Cuba manage to concoct between them, but entirely without each other s knowledge, a fantasy international plot, which allows the source to receive generous ex gratis payments, and [...]

  15. It seems worthwhile being blind in this sun Our Man and Captain Segura the Red Vulture, the Cuban police torturer with a cigarette lighter covered in human skin get together and play checkers regularly and, regularly enough, huffing came into play I m not a checkers or draughts player I had to look it up.In almost all the variations of the game of checkers, a player is required to make a jump or a capture if such a move is available There are certain variations of the game however where huffing [...]

  16. This didn t really appeal to me much It was meant to be comedic in tone and I suppose I found it slightly so It is Graham Greene taking a shot at the world of British Intelligence in pre Castro Cuba Most reviewers seemed to like this so I think the problem is mine rather than the book s

  17. This farce holds the same canny and clever delight as the Pink Panther, Dr Strangelove and The Comedy of Errors, with dialogue and pacing to which David Mamet is clearly indebted I could almost see the smoke from Graham Greene s typewriter keys swirling in the air as he tore through sheets of erasable bond, churning out this crazy, wonderful and utterly a propos satire of spies.It s the mid 1950 s when we meet our man, Jim Wormold, a milquetoast British expatriate who moved to Havana prior to Wo [...]

  18. Given the supposed military intelligence that led to the war in Iraq, it s tempting to look to books such as Our Man in Havana, Graham Greene s comic spy novel about the Cold War, for parallels to our current situation In the book, drawings of pieces of a household vacuum cleaner are passed off as schematics for sophisticated weaponry Rather than there being any direct correlation, however, it brings to mind that quote sometimes attributed to Mark Twain about how history may not repeat itself, [...]

  19. I LOVE this book It reminds me of a Wodehouse with smarter characters, but with similar dry British humor and hilarious anecdotes The sauciness of teenage saint Millie, her too old for a suitor torturing policeman who knows everything that goes on in Havana and probably Cuba , her father, Wormold, who is our man in Havana , not to mention his secretary and agents, provided me with belly laughs, snickers and guffaws aplenty Wormold ekes by as a vacuum cleaner dealer until approached by a Secret S [...]

  20. A well written, perfectly plotted, political, prescient entertainment that, while reading, I didn t feel at all the implausibility of the recruitment by the British Secret Service of a vacuum cleaner salesman living in Cuba or that of the courting of his Catholic teenage daughter by a Cuban policeman enforcer The humor in the dialogue and elsewhere is dry and funny in a wink and a nod kind of way I had disliked the similes in the otherwise wonderful The Human Factor, which I d found awkward, but [...]

  21. When I was a youngster I read alot of Graham Greene This one feels to me to be less typical, Catholicism isn t such a feature and guilt isn t quite such an overwhelming presence as in some of his other novels By contrast this is fairly light.It s an enjoyable read and there s a value that still seems fairly relevent in it s message of being mindful of the potential sources of intelligence information.

  22. Not a bad book by any means, but the 150 page set up seemed to be really excessive when compared to the 50 page climax Overall, it was a clever, humorous take on the ultra serious world of international espionage I don t say this very often ever , but I think this book would have worked better as a short story.

  23. A 3.5 star book.For this title I have once kept a paperback hoping to read enjoyably but, for some reasons, I simply could not have a go after some ten pages thinking it was not my type, I mean the genre involving espionage or secret service I don t think spy fiction suggests anything positive, rather it reveals inevitable betrayal, high treason and digital sabotage in the 21st century However, I have recently resolved to pick up his The Confidential Agent and happily made it as the second Green [...]

  24. SPOILERS ALERT Our Man in Havana is a satirical spy novel set in Havana during the cold war British influence over the rest of the world is on the wane An alcoholic British expatriate Jim Wormold who owns a shop that sells vacuum cleaners is hired by a British intelligence agency as their man spy in Havana Wormold is a lot like Henry Scobie in Greene s The Heart of the Matter He is a middle aged man who does not know what he is to do with the rest of his life How will he go on How will he fund t [...]

  25. I thought this was excellent until the final chapter and epilogue I felt that Greene wasn t sure about how to finish off the story.

  26. This would have earned higher marks from me four, even five stars if Greene had liked his story half as much as I did It s all there fake spies, that line between fiction and reality, absurdity and inane bureaucracy and humanity but he doesn t write like there s much joy in it for him I could be wrong It s just the feeling I got from it, after all, anyway The thought that, had he attacked this with relish instead of obligation, man, what a story.

  27. Not too bad, a bit slapsticky at times and Wormolds antics had me chuckling at times My main issue with the book is how vague the author was with Wormold and Beatrice s relationship, felt a bit lazy he just sorts of throws them together and you are expected to accept them.First Graham Greene book for me and I enjoyed it, looking forward to reading of his stuff.

  28. I love Greene s humor, philosophy, and moral absurdities Not a perfect novel, but advanced and amazing in many many parts Probably exactly in the middle stuck between five and four stars Not as good a book as _The Heart of the Matter_, _The Quiet American_, or even _Power the Glory_, but probably a purely enjoyable novel than any of the those.

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