Our Man in Havana, set in Cuba under the Batista regime, was published in 1958 – one year before Castro’s revolution in 1959. This comedy thriller focuses on Havana-based vacuum cleaner salesman James Wormold. The story revolves around Wormold’s reluctant role in the British Secret Service as ‘Our Man in Havana‘ – a post he accepts to fund the spendthrift habits of his beloved daughter.
According to some conspiracy theorists, the novel presaged the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which many people feared could have led to World War Three. Over the years, Our Man in Havana has become an iconic title.
Graham Greene (1904 – 1991) was a British author who produced an array of novels that have stood the test of time. These include The Third Man, The Comedians, Brighton Rock and The Quiet American.
Complete and Unabridged. 6 CDs. 7 hrs. ISBN 978 – 1906147426.
What the reviews said:
“A brilliantly narrated period piece with Greene at his most playfully satirical” – The Observer
“Laugh-out-loud-on-the-tube-at-9am” – Time Out
“Jeremy Northam catches Greene’s tone of ruined romanticism to perfection” – The Daily Mail
“I’d forgotten that Greene could be so funny…Northam is fast becoming my favourite reader” - The Guardian
“Jeremy Northam makes the whole cast next-to-you real” – The Times
“This is altogether a treat” – The Daily Telegraph
“A comedy with a dark, even mystical undertone, well served by the practised audio performer Jeremy Northam” – The Sunday Times
“Greene’s array of Germans, Brits and native Cubans allows Northam to trot out some of the choicest examples from his stable of voices, all cleverly done” – Publishers Weekly
“The narration captures the ambience and the dialogue brilliantly” – The Oldie
“A wonderful seven hours” – audiobooksreview.co.uk
Sue Arnold writing in The Guardian, May 9th 2009: I’d forgotten that Greene could be so funny, but maybe it’s just the brilliant way that Jeremy Northam has caught the ironic tone of the book’s unlikely hero, James Wormold, who sells vacuum cleaners (not very successfully) in pre-Castro Cuba. And the strangulated Spanish of the loathsome Captain Segura – the Red Vulture as he is known to his torture victims – who wants to marry Wormold’s beautiful daughter, Milly. And the pukka but totally barmy whisper of the British Secret Service chief in his London bunker, who wears a monocle but can’t see that the drawings of 1950s enemy WMDs sent in by their newly recruited undercover agent in Havana look remarkably like vacuum cleaner spares. For once, Greene’s Roman Catholic hang-ups, which make novels such as The End of the Affair so desolate, are kept in check – even joked about. “Hail Mary, quite contrary”, prays convent-educated Milly, aged four. Nine years later she sets fire to a small American boy called Thomas Earl Parkman Junior because he’s a Protestant – “and if there was going to be a persecution, Catholics could always beat Protestants at that game.” Northam is fast becoming my favourite reader. Any chance of him reading me the Guardian every morning?
Read the original article here: Our Man in Havana
Carole Mansur writing in The Telegraph, May 7th, 2009 : Our Man in Havana (CSA Word, 7hrs unabridged, £19.56) opens with a rousing burst of salsa that sets the mood for the most atmospheric and funniest of the novels Graham Greene called entertainments. Written on the eve of the Cuban revolution in 1958, it is almost a burlesque of the espionage story, with James Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman with a limp, for its Bond. Far from sounding dated, the absurdities of the plot still have a spooky resonance.
Greene’s cinematic style lends itself to the audio format but this production has the further asset of a superb reader in Jeremy Northam. Often a languorous romantic lead on screen, he seems energised here by the tropical rhythms, keeping up the breakneck pace and reinventing himself as a character actor. He is especially good as the whispery old monocled intelligence chief muffled in his own peculiar world.
More subtly, Northam distinguishes the American-accented English of the Cubans and several degrees of drunkenness in the memorable game of chess played with whisky miniatures. This is altogether a treat.
Read the original article here: Pick of the Audiobooks review