by adeline talbot

Yes, we are going and I couldn't be more excited about that! If you want some scoop on our upcoming trip CLICK HERE.  As of this morning, there are officially 2 spots left—and one of these could be yours!   

Honestly, though, I am just as excited about another 'Cuba event', albeit one that is much closer to home.  I've been invited to facilitate Scuppernong Books' next Travel Talk book discussion. Co-owner David White has graciously allowed me to pick the book and the city--so I have picked one of my all time favorite romps: Graham Greene’s Our Man In Havana.

In Our Man In Havana, we have both a farce that still has the power to delight 6 decades after its publication and a book that provides a potent platform for discussing Havana, past and present.

Intended as a straightforward farce, the story tells the tale of a British ex-pat, James Wormold, stuck in pre-Revolutionary Havana selling vacuum cleaners–or attempting to—while also raising—or attempting to—a crazy-gorgeous 16-year daughter. Subsequent ‘real world’ events, however, now mean that the book also brims with historical resonance.

  Havana is evoked as a thoroughly corrupt city teeming with Cold War intrigue and languorous if chilling danger.  Strangely it is also recognizable as the city we know today, with infrastructure that has slowly been aging in place for most of our lifetimes, effectively arrested in time just weeks after the events depicted in the book. In the fact, the revolution occurred in January 1959, one short month after the book’s publication date.

In another uncanny bit of historical convergence, the storyline revolves around the threat posed by the apparently imminent installation of Soviet missiles.  This foreshadows the very real world Cuban Missile Crisis by 4 years.  Mercifully, in the book the threat is purely farcical—Wormold, in a desperate attempt to come up with intelligence, does some clever sketching of his Hoover attachments.

I have one other recommendation for Our Man In Havana--one that is neither historical or travel related—and that is the book's language.   Greene, along with Evelyn Waugh, uses language in a way that seems to me thoroughly and uniquely British; complex, sophisticated, seemingly effortless, witty, world-weary and true believer all in one.

I have to admit to never tiring of reading either of  these mid-century comedic geniuses…

As you can probably tell—I am excited! About the book and about our upcoming discussion.  Hope you can join us--

 Scuppernong Books

 304 S. Elm Street Greensboro, NC

7:00 p.m.,   Wednesday,  November 18, 2015

   Photo Credit: Wikiimages