Thursday, March 05, 2009

Literary corner

We have blogged previously about Leonardo Padura, a Cuban novelist whose best known work outside the island is a series of police procedurals featuring a Havana police inspector by the name of Mario Conde.

Padura is a rare beast: an internationally-known Cuban writer who still lives in Cuba.

His writing is often quite critical of conditions in Cuba today although Padura is careful enough never to criticise the Castro brothers directly or to question the “revolutionary process”, which may explain why his work is tolerated (if not necessarily promoted) by the Communist regime.

Anyway, to publicise his latest novel to be translated into English, “Havana Fever”, Padua has provided The Guardian newspaper in Britain with a personal list of his top 10 Cuban novels of all time.

And what becomes immediately obvious is that the majority of the novels highlighted by Padura were written before Castro came to power, or by writers such as Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Alejo Carpentier or Reinaldo Arenas who were either forced into exile by the regime or fell out of favour big time with Fidel Castro.

You can read the list here.


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