Our Man in Havana
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 r...more
"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 a ...more
This idea about inventing a spy network and going along with the deception reminds me of the story of Agent Garbo during WWII.
Our Man in Havana is a humorous satire on the the cold war spy era. Greene especially takes ...more
Uncorrected Transcript of Oral Evidence
Taken before the Intelligence and Security Committee Tuesday 15 July 1958
Mr. Paul Anderson, in the Chair
Mr. Jonathan Blakeley
Mr. Richard Cunningham QC
Witnesses: 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 ...more
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 h ...more
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 Sec ...more
Δεν ξέρω για αυτόν τον διαχωρισμό, ξέρω όμως το εξής: βρίθει λογοτεχνικότητας, καυστικότητας, απολαυστικών διαλόγων. Έχει χιούμορ ίσως παραπάνω από άλλες του ιστορίες, μα αυτό αποτελεί ένα κοινό γνώρισμά της γραφής του. Ίσως έχει και παραπάνω δράση, αν και δεν είναι πτυχή άγνωστη στα βιβλία του - απεναντίας. Ίσως το συγκεκριμένο βιβλίο κάποιος να το χαρακτήριζε φάρσα. Πάντως είναι ένα εξαιρετι ...more
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.
’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 ...more
It's the mid 1950's when we meet our man, Jim Wormold, a milquetoast British expatriate who moved to Havana prior to ...more
I had disliked the similes in the otherwise-wonderful The Human Factor, which I'd found awkward, ...more
First Graham Greene book for me and I enjoyed it, looking forward to reading more of his stuff.
Jim Wormold bumbles through Havana while his beautiful, but apparently deeply religious, daughter Millie glides on the air produced by many wolf whistles. Beautiful and adventurous she is the opposite of her father who tries desperately to please her ...more
"An Entertainment" describes the novel very well. It had me laughing out loud with glee. A rollicking well-paced satire on espionage and patriotism with a surprisingly sobering and heartfelt ending.
However, this is one of the rare cases where the book and the movie version are equally wonderful. If you haven't already, watch this film - one of Alec Guinness's best in my opinion! So it is no criticism of Jeremy Northam's narration when I say that even listening to the audiobook, I heard Alec Guinness in my head for Wormold.
Wormold is one of Greene's more hapless heroes, a reluctant player in the Cold War spy game who begins manufacturing agents he's supposed to be running, dreaming them up the way a novelist dreams up characters. One of them is Teresa, whom he imagines as a nude dancer, the mistress simultaneously of the Minister of Defense and the Director of Posts and Telegraphs.
When the book suddenly and dramatically veers towards the Tragic at about the half-way point my feelings also began ...more
I’m honestly a bit mystified as to why this is considered a classic. A satirical spy novel about a vacuum cleaner salesman recruited by MI-6, I honestly didn’t find Our Man In Havana funny enough to be a comic novel or thrilling enough to be a thriller.
Wikipedia tells me that Greene originally set the novel in Estonia, which explains a lot – Havana as a setting is so lightly sketched ...more
Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a “Catholic novelist” rather than as a “novelist who happened to be Ca ...more