Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Our Man in Havana: An Entertainment by Graham Greene.
This absurdist espionage novel combines droll cynicism with sweet romanticism in a deliciously hair-raising manner. In many respects, it’s an anti-spy story, more interested in the rich development of characters through dramatic irony, rather than cultivating the thrills of mystery and danger. The hero of the tale sets himself against the machinations of states and powers, while trying to defend his real loyalties, the foremost being to his teenage daughter.
Greene’s book is a speedy read, partly because so much of it is dialogue. The talk is full of clever ambiguities, and I found it easy to imagine as a well-constructed play for the stage. Evidently, the 1959 film adaptation with Alec Guinness in the lead was successful. It’s clearly a classic of Cold War English “intelligence” fiction, one that would pair nicely with Deighton’s Ipcress File, a slightly later and much darker tale, but one of comparable length and pacing. [via]