20 May 2014

Our Man in Havana, by Graham Greene

An audio book, from the PC Library.

I know that I must have read this book before, many years ago, but I had forgotten most of it, and was enchanted by the plot as well as Greene's wonderful prose.

An essay by Peter Hulme.

James Wormold is a vacuum-cleaner dealer in Havana, single father of a teenage daughter. Business is not very good in pre-revolutionary Cuba (ca. 1958), so when Wormold is approached by an agent of British Secret Service with an offer of money to gather and transmit intelligence to London, he is persuaded to cooperate.

Wormold is a hopeless secret agent, and he knows it. Instead of actually recruiting sub-agents or doing any real spying, he creates a fantasy list of people and bogus information -- and he is very successful at it. London is thoroughly taken in.

There is just enough humor to relieve pathos, and just enough romance to make it a nicely understated love story.

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