Title: Our Man in Havana
Author: Graham Greene
Genre: Thriller / Espionage
Rating: 4 of 5
This spy novel isn’t quite an outright farce but it shows the ludicrous side of the intelligence game. When a British expatriate who works as a vacuum cleaner salesman in Havana is practically forced to become an agent of British intelligence he has no idea how to proceed. Acting on advice from his German friend he simply makes up agents and intelligence and soon “our man in Havana” is one of the British intelligence community’s more valuable assets. The web of deceit (and bewildered bumbling ineptness) that follows is by turns humorous and tragic (I won’t tell you which note it ends on).
Overall, this was an enjoyable book (much more so than LeCarré´s copycat Taylor of Panama that had a much grimmer tone). Not only is the story entertaining, but you are treated to a backdrop of pre-revolutionary Cuba…not a very edifying spectacle, but interesting. This is definitely worth a read as relatively realistic spy fiction (as opposed to the James Bond secret agent style) or even just as a man-trapped-by-circumstances kind of classic.