I am loathe to disagree with Christopher Hitchens, who wrote the introduction to this book, but as difficult as it is to denounce the opinion of a man who most certainly knows better than me — I’ll do it.
Our Man in Havana centres around British expatriate and vacuum salesman Mr Wormold – seldom referred to as Jim, even his nearest and dearest. Struggling to care for his 17 year-old, devout Catholic daughter, Wormold is head-hunted by the British secret service. In order to maximize his earnings, Wormold, rather than hiring agents, invents some.
The story is overrun with dialogue, which is often unmarked and therefore difficult to follow. Though there are some interesting characters, their emotional distance is palpable and demonstrated by their formal addresses. The story centres on Wormold but is narrated in third-person, which is often confusing.
Most exposition on the storyline is delayed, leaving that disgruntled, anti-climactic moment where you feel like you might have missed something. While this probably works perfectly in the film, the big reveals are sidelined; dulling the effect of the big give-away instead of enhancing it. At many points I felt that I could almost have skimmed over some of the most important moments.
Intriguing, but never quite entertaining, Our Man in Havana is a sleepy espionage tale for dads.