Our Man in Havana (Greene)

Our Man in Havana
Graham Greene, 1959
~200-250 pp. (varies by publisher)

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. (From Penguin Group USA edition.)

Wormold is a vacuum cleaner salesman in a city of power outages. His adolescent daughter spends his money with a skill that amazes him, so when a mysterious Englishman offers him an extra income he's tempted. In return all he has to do is file a few reports. But when his fake reports start coming true things suddenly get more complicated and Havana becomes a threatening place. (From Random House UK edition.)

The 1959 film version stars Alec Guiness, Burl Ives, and Maureen O'Hara...and Noel Coward as Hawthorne. Also, Jeremy Northam does a fine turn in the novel's audio version.

* The novel was copyrighted in 1958 and published in 1959, thus the disparity in dates.

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