Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
A friend of mine plonked a pile of books onto his dining room table as we were leaving his house as his “book recommendation”. I then transferred this vertical stake into a horizontal on my book case as soon as we got home and didn’t think much more about them. Flash forward a few weeks and I was a little dry on the book front so picked the first one from this recommended list.
The only other Graham Greene I have read was The End of the Affair, which is one of the most beautiful reads I have experienced, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this GG was in fact an superbly written black comedy.
It follows a British expat (Mr Wormold) in Havana who has a failing business, a passively demanding teenage daughter and a few old time friends who are a little questionable in post war times. He is recruited by MI6 to provide them with some valuable inside information on communist Cuba, which he accepts in order to make a bit of extra cash to fulfil his daughter’s needs….. the only problem being that Mr. Wormold’s mundane life doesn’t know any secrets that he could report back to MI6, so his imagination becomes the source.
It is hilarious! There were a few instances in which I laughed out loud. An episode I am particularly fond of is Mr Wormold’s appearance at a large house of a character he seemingly made up where he witnesses a domestic argument…but not between husband and wife as first believed. He then becomes the centre of the argument….all whilst barely saying a word.
A great book, 5 stars for sure! However, I feel that this book is a fabulous book hiding within a boring one. I started reading it without much hope and it took me a few chapters to really read between the lines and appreciate the style of writing, it is an unassuming comedy.