So I’m working my way through Nick Kristof’s list.
Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana was easy and fun reading – he had lots of books out in the 50’s and 60’s, often serious and yet written with a calm and sure and perceptive touch. This one is a spy story, involving MI6 and a vacuum cleaner salesman in Cuba. It would have been funnier, but it is eerily like The Triple Agent in many ways, where the young Jordanian doctor blew himself and much of the CIA in Afganistan up a few years ago.
Nick wants us to remember that in foreign policy nothing ever goes as planned, and that intelligence scoops are always suspect.
I have figured out that I’m not reading Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Totally dreary, and totally too much! I just saw the movie Jane Eyre, with a love story that goes through a lot of misery before turning out half-way decently. And I simply will not bear a book where everything ends up badly, and most folk are dead three-quarters of the way through.
So I wikied the story, and then read about 10 pages to get the flavor of the writing. And that is all I’m willing to do. Nick put it on his list because the characters are shaped by 19th-century presumptions about class and male dominance. There wasn’t much difference, as far as I can see, between the 19th and 20th centuries in that regard, and there’s plenty hanging around of it in the 21st. Up until now. : >