Fun fact about me: if something is going on that I really want to be a part of, I usually discover it too late. For example, the 2015 Classics Challenge set up by Stacey over at The Pretty Books (Check out her blog, it's gorgeous and filled with great book recommendations). The goal is to read one classic a month and to blog about the experience. I've always wanted to read more classics and since I'm in a monthly classics book group, I thought this would be a great way to combine the two! So slightly late, I present my January classic: Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene. (Click on the link to find out what the story is about if it's new to you - it will direct you to the Goodreads summary!)
WHEN I Discovered This Classic + Why I Chose to Read It
I can't remember a moment in my life where I didn't see a Graham Greene book in one of my parents many bookcases. However, I must admit that I never really noticed Our Man In Havana - maybe because it's so small, maybe because I think the title is really vague and uninteresting or maybe because I was just overwhelmed with choice. I really discovered this classic when my book club voted to make it our January read and I thus had no choice but to read it.
WHAT Makes It A Classic
What makes this book a classic is that it's written by one of the most famous English authors ever. I don't think Our Man in Havana is that famous, but because it's Graham Greene it will always be a classic. Also, it deals with topics that will always stay relevant and will always keep the book relevant. It's about how society works in times of wars and insecurity. It's a satire about English bureaucracy and though it talks about the 1960s, it is still as applicable today. I think that's the quality of a great classic.
WHAT I Thought of This Classic
I'm kinda indifferent to this classic. I've never read any Graham Greene before and I'm happy to have finally experienced his writing, but I don't think the story will stick with me. Maybe I'm not British enough, but I didn't always get the satire and actually felt really bad for some side-characters in the book. Added to that, I didn't really feel bad for any of the main characters. They are all being incredibly dumb and yet get a happy ending (which I know is the point of the whole satire but still). I didn't dislike it, but it just didn't resonate with me in any significant way.
WILL It Stay A Classic
Yes. The answer is really that simple. It's a Graham Greene and people will forever love him and his stories so also Our Man in Havana. And like I said before, I think this book will (unfortunately) always stay relevant, because there will always be wars and bureaucracy issues so people will always keep reading it.
WHO I’d Recommend It To
I'd recommend this book to anyone that loves spy stories and wants to see them re-invented. It's not James Bond, but it's a parody on James Bond, which can be a great new read for fans. It's also a good book for people who are not used to classics - it reads like a contemporary book and the writing is very easy. You'll finish this book in 2 to 3 hours so it's a great way to enhance your classics knowledge without slaving away for days!