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Graham Greene now a character in a novel

Graham Greene returns to Havana as the main character in a novel by Cuban author Pedro Juan Gutierrez.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2006 17:51 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Graham Greene returns to a Havana of spies, cigar-chomping gangsters and prostitutes as the main character in a novel by internationally acclaimed Cuban author Pedro Juan Gutierrez.

Our GG in Havana was published in Cuba on Wednesday in Spanish and rights to an English edition have been bought by British and U.S. publishers, Gutierrez said.

The detective story, in which the character GG has sex with a transvestite, is a ribald take-off on British author Greene's 1958 comic masterpiece Our Man in Havana, whose main character sent vacuum cleaner drawings to London's MI6 passing them off as plans for a secret weapon.

Gutierrez's book was first commissioned by a Brazilian publisher who rejected the manuscript fearing it would result in a lawsuit by Greene's estate. Greene died in 1991.

"Graham Greene goes whoring and there is a confusion with a bogus Greene. The publisher got cold feet," Gutierrez said in an interview with Reuters.

 
 Pedro Juan Gutierrez

Gutierrez gained international acclaim in 1998 with his "Dirty Havana Trilogy" that delves into the contemporary Havana underworld of sex, rum and poverty peopled by hustlers, pimps and prostitutes.

In his new book, the Cuban writer's character GG checks into Greene's favourite Havana hotel, the Inglaterra, and visits the Shanghai Theatre, notorious in the 1950s for its live sex shows. Then a body appears and the plot thickens.

"It's an entertaining story based on real events," said Gutierrez, whose novel has FBI agents chasing Mafia mobsters amid the decadence of Fulgencio Batista's dictatorship.

 
 Graham Greene

Gutierrez, who has published 11 books in 20 countries in 18 languages, says he is "loved and hated" in Communist Cuba. The state-run magazine Bohemia fired him when his earthy 1998 trilogy scandalized the authorities.

"Some people only find sex and politics in my books," he said.

First Published: Oct 19, 2006 17:51 IST