This month’s bookclub - open to Members & spouses (& one or two guests) – transported our avid readers to Cuba and the world of espionage…
This month's book: Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
The setting: The book is set in Havana, Cuba, during the Batista regime
What's it about: Published in 1959 (just months before the Castro revolution), the book takes a light-hearted look at the world of spies. Along the way it touches on more serious issues such as relationships, justice and equality. It was classed as "entertainment" by Greene and pokes fun at the British Secret Service. Everything centres around a character called Womold, a failing vacuum cleaner salesman, who is recruited as an agent and begins inventing contacts and sub-agents; meanwhile, his drawing of the works of an “atomic” vacuum cleaner is accepted as that of a secret weapon.
(The book gave rise to the wonderful and well-known film starring the late Sir Alec Guinness.)
Thoughts from our bookclubbers:
- "like a Brian Rix comedy with people who didn’t exist floating in and out"
- "a style like ‘Three Men In A Boat"
- “quite different from Le Carre and the Smiley books”
- “preferred the film”
- "poses the question of whether one should favour loyalty to friends over that of the country"
Our bookclubbers' score: 8-9/10
Our bookclubbers' other reads:
- “One Perfect Lie”- Lisa Scottoline
- “The Last Drop of Blood” - Graham Masterton
- “I Know a Secret” - Tess Gerritsen
- “Girl, Woman, Other” - Bernardine Evaristo
- “Lucky Jim” - Kingsley Amis
- “Hamnet”- Maggie O’Farrell
- “The Midnight Library” - Matt Haig
- “Warlight” - Michael Ondaatje
- “Bonkers - My Life in Laughs” - Jennifer Saunders
- “Olive Kitteridge” - Elizabeth Strout
- “Our Mutual Friend” – Charles Dickens
Please note: all comments and opinions are from our bookclub members and are not the views of the Rotary Club of Canterbury, nor are any of the books mentioned endorsed by the Club. Imagery is used under the terms of fair use for review. © Grahan Greene 1958. This edition reissued by Vintage in 2019. Vintage Classics is part of Penguin Random House.