A brutally mutilated body is discovered washed up in the bay of Havana. The body of Miguel Forcade Mier, head smashed in by a baseball bat, genitals cut off by a dull knife. Forcade, once an official in the Cuban government responsible for the confiscation of the belongings of the bourgeoisie fleeing the revolution, was an exile in Miami. Had he really returned to Havana just to visit his ailing father?
Conde immerses himself in the dark history of expropriations of works of art, paintings that have vanished without trace, corrupt civil servants and old families that lost much, but not everything. Here is the disillusion of Padura’s generation, many of them veterans of the war in Angola, dealing with the catastrophe that followed the collapse of Russian aide in the 1990’s and now discovering the corruption of those that preceded them. Yet a eulogy of Cuba, its life of music, sex and the great friendships of those who elected to stay and fight for survival.
About the Author
Leonardo Padura was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1955. A novelist, journalist, and critic, he is the author of several novels, including The Man Who Loved Dogs, two volumes of short stories; and several nonfiction collections. His novels featuring the detective Mario Conde have been translated into many languages and have won literary prizes around the world. He lives in Cuba.
"Padura's powerful writing creates an atmospheric picture of a turbulent city, illuminated by Conde's sardonic commentary."
"Conde is thrown into the thick of a tangled web of mysticism, politics and subversive activity. The subterfuges adopted by people in everyday life, particularly in a climate of repression, are captured perfectly in Padura's seamy, heat-soaked pages and Conde's mask of "fears, wariness and lies" lends him mystique."
"A scorching novel from a star of Cuban fiction. Conde's quest follows the basic rhythm of the whodunit, but Padura syncopates it with brilliant literary riffs on Cuban sex, society, religion, even food"
"Nothing is what it seems in this case, which has less to do with crime than with the struggle for identity in a corrupt society where outsiders are exiled in their own country. This prize-winning crime noir is the first of a quartet by Cuba's celebrated writer to be translated into English."