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Our Man in Havana | [Graham Greene]

Our Man in Havana

In a legendary novel that appears to predict the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Graham Greene introduces James Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman whose life in transformed when he is asked to join the British Secret Service. He agrees, and finds himself with no information to offer, so begins to invent sources and agencies which do not exist, but which appear very real to his superiors.
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Publisher's Summary

In a legendary novel that appears to predict the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Graham Greene introduces James Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman whose life in transformed when he is asked to join the British Secret Service. He agrees, and finds himself with no information to offer, so begins to invent sources and agencies which do not exist, but which appear very real to his superiors.

Then follow some very real events, such as undercover work and even murder attempts, all backed up by phantom chains of information and invented covert agencies.

An often light-hearted but massively important complete and unabridged audiobook, which makes many comments on present-day life despite being published over 50 years ago. The book was also made into a hit film starring Carol Reed and Alec Guinness in 1959, and has recently (2007) been the subject of a play adaptation staged in Guildford to a enthusiastic public reception.

©2008 CSA Word; (P)2009 CSA Word

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (185 )
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4.1 (161 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Diana 09-16-13
    Diana 09-16-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just About Perfect"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Our Man in Havana to be better than the print version?

    Although I am a Graham Greene fan, I haven't read Our Man in Havana in print. This performance was so wonderful, I look forward to listening to it again, but I may never try the print version after this.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Our Man in Havana?

    In a book full of wonderful ironies, the vacuum cleaner diagram cum weapon of mass destruction was utterly delightful.


    Have you listened to any of Jeremy Northam’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    A masterwork. I'll be sure to look for Jeremy Northam from now on.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Cold War farce.


    Any additional comments?

    I am adding this to my list of books to be treasured and re-read and re-heard.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole Flemington, Australia 07-09-12
    Nicole Flemington, Australia 07-09-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Our Man in Havana"

    This was an audiobook that I didn't want to end: the story is amusing and entertaining, well written and it really brought the time and place to life. Jeremy Northam does an excellent job reading it, I'd like to hear more of his books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-12-12 Member Since 2015

    Audio books changed my life and they become more important with each passing year for me. My favorite categories include history, biography, and both classic and modern police procedurals.

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    "Adding My Two-Cents on the Music!"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Why on earth the loud, disruptive music! I thought those days were over!


    If you’ve listened to books by Graham Greene before, how does this one compare?

    I enjoyed the other two much more - sans music!


    What didn’t you like about Jeremy Northam’s performance?

    So many of your British men have deep, gravely voices that are hard on the ears and not clear. The women are fine and British men without the ancient whiskey voices are great! I love the accents, but not the tobacco-damaged sound.


    Was Our Man in Havana worth the listening time?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    It was better as a book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Lewis DC 04-24-12
    E. Lewis DC 04-24-12

    sometime critic

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    "Fun to listen to"
    Would you listen to Our Man in Havana again? Why?

    Possibly -- it is amusing. Well read, amusing characters, amusing story. Not serious but still not too light weight. Good book, good reader.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Somewhat -- I did wonder what would happen next.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Do not remember


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    NO -- it was all amusing, as it is meant to be.


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent for someone who wants an amusing book well read -- but not silly and with some interest in who the people are and what is happening in Havana and London.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex 03-23-12
    Alex 03-23-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent story ruined by horrible music choice"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Eliminate the bad Cuban themed music.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Classic Graham Greene.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Jeremy Northam’s performances?

    Yes, as long as it does not have the same producer, or whoever chose the music.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Yes, Graham Greene is excellent this is one of his best stories.


    Any additional comments?

    Whoever chose the Cuban music has either no taste, no understanding of this book, or some combination of the two. Very intrusive, ruined the mood. I had to stop listening to it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Stratford, CT, United States 03-10-12
    Stephen Stratford, CT, United States 03-10-12 Member Since 2015
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    "The music is incredibly annoying"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I love Graham Greene and the narration is excellent, but the tacky music has no place in this book and is so intrusive that I am about to stop listening. Audible should monitor this sort of stuff and reject versions like this. Very disappointed.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua 06-13-15
    Joshua 06-13-15 Member Since 2014
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    "The music ruins it"

    Decent reading, but the production is sub par, especially the anachronistic Gloria Estevan music.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    john 04-19-15
    john 04-19-15
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    "good story & performance"

    music was awful. too much, too long & too loud. and there was no easy way just get past it. If I had known about the music I would not have bought this audio book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Frank S. Saltiel 04-15-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Classic post war spy tale"

    This story transports you to a unique time in world history when former British agents used there war experience to frame successful careers as novelists. The best example of which is Ian Fleming.
    Well read with perfect dry English humor.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Vova Shklovsky Richmond, VA 02-09-15
    Vova Shklovsky Richmond, VA 02-09-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Terrible music added for no purpose"
    Any additional comments?

    The book itself is good, and I liked the narrator.

    However, the bad music throughout the audiobook disrupted the experience. To reiterate, it is bad. It is repetitive. It is louder than the narration, so I had to change my volume back and forth. There is no reason for this to happen. Audible should push producers to fix such obnoxious mistakes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Joanne
    OxfordUnited Kingdom
    7/21/09
    Overall
    "A good yarn - well read"

    I enjoyed this immensely. It is the often hilarious story of cold war espionage in pre-revolutionary Cuba. Jeremy Northam's reading is excellent with superb characterisations - even of the female characters. the excerpts of 'theme music' between chapters - Samba music for Cuba, Brass band for English scenes, fast music at the end of an exciting chapter - were rather irritating though.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • AlexB
    8/12/10
    Overall
    "Pity I had to wait so long to hear it..."

    I enjoyed the book, I must have to put up with the stupidly long musically interludes, Whoever came up with them needs calling back to London ;)

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Jennifer
    London, United Kingdom
    3/20/11
    Overall
    "Entertaining and funny"

    Really enjoyed this. Like another reviewer, I could have done without the musical interludes to tell us when we were in Cuba and when we were in London, but the rest was great.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • sandandstars
    Leicester, UK
    12/28/14
    Overall
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    "spoilt by the inane muzak"

    what idiot thought they could "improve" a classic book by mixing in long bits of cheap music to "set the scene" every few minutes. they must think their readers are stupid. what next? a "teaser" before each chapter? how about a commentator? celebrity endorsement? adverts? did Greene sell his book with a free record attached? it's a book. b. o. o. k. book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Elizabeth
    UK
    9/11/13
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    "Utterly engrossing first taste of Graham Greene"
    If you could sum up Our Man in Havana in three words, what would they be?

    Wry, subtle, intelligent.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I'm a sucker for intelligent espionage fiction. How could I not have read Graham Greene until now? His subtle and understated writing is perfect for this setting. The story is both dark and amusing, and cruelly takes the mickey out of governments and civil servants. When we were in Cuba I felt languid and relaxed, in Britain chilled and grey. An utterly engrossing listen.


    Which character – as performed by Jeremy Northam – was your favourite?

    The main protagonist has the perfect name: Wormold, and he's weak and pliable and ambiguous. But the character with delicious depth and subtlety is Captain Segura, the corrupt and evil strongman who has his own morality and ethics.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    An audiobook has to be an absolute masterpiece to keep me from all other brain activity from start to finish. Our Man in Havana doesn't quite reach those dizzy heights. But it's a rollicking good listen and the perfect length. I definitely rearranged my activities so I could get back to listening. Highly recommended.


    Any additional comments?

    My first Graham Greene, I'm ashamed to admit. I chose "Our Man in Havana" over other Greene novels because the narration (by Jeremy Northam) was highly rated, and for good reason. The narration and production was just my cuppa tea - completely engrossing story-telling with little snatches of Cuban music between scenes.

    There were a handful of convenient plot coincidences but they didn't spoil my utter enjoyment of this engrossing audiobook experience.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jane
    Fleckney, United Kingdom
    4/9/11
    Overall
    "Ruined"

    Book great. Reader great. Who the hell thought the music was a good idea? Totally spoiled it for me. Intensely irritating and intrusive - even used underneath the reading, as well as during apparently random breaks. Let's have some Irish dance music with Angela's Ashes, or Chase & Status during Sons & Lovers.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Galia S.
    4/29/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book - shame about the cheesy music!"

    Book was spoiled for me by the awful music used throughout! Very unnecessary!
    Well read though and a fab story!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Emilia
    London, United Kingdom
    3/31/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very enjoyable, grit your teeth & ignore the music"

    For some reason this excellently read story is punctuated with long musical interludes: Cuban-style music when the action is in Havana and really badly produced, pompous music when it switches to the UK. The narrator, simply states the change of location anyway so it's also unnecessary for understanding the plot. I'm afraid it adds nothing but is a little annoying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mike G
    Dursley, United Kingdom
    3/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Most entertaining!"

    I cannot understand how I never got to read or hear this story before but it was a great find. A brilliant story skilfully read and most entertaining - a delight.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    2/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very Enjoyable"

    Not really sure where it was going to begin with but only complaint, too short.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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