It was a dark and stormy night, literally, as I opened my copy of Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana. I began the book weeks ago, but just could not get past the introduction by Christopher Hitchens. Who is this character, and why should I care about what he thinks of the book?
Ah, after Googling him, and reading the passage in Wikipedia—where I recognized his photo—I learn he is a British author, journalist, and critic. His latest book, God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, was number one on the “New York Times” bestseller’s list in 2006. Hum?
The fire-department radio siren was signaling a severe weather alert and I was giggling at the book. Seems our hero, Mr. Wormold, is a vacuum cleaner salesman, and his new line of vacuums includes the Atomic Pile. One astute customer wants to know if it will absorb all radio activity including Strontium 90. As the car alarm sounds under the carport, I am miles away on a Cuban street. I happened to be reading about the wolf whistles which Wormold hears as his 16-year-old daughter, Milly, makes her way through the streets.
Seems I can be lost in Havana with Greene—so much so, I ignore a raging storm—or I can be bored to tears with Hitchens. In a storm I’ll take Greene any day.