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Ajiaco, Rum and Coffee: Food and Identity in Leonardo Padura's Detective Fiction

2018-04-10, Battaglia, Diana Rosa

This chapter analyses the representation of food, cooking and its related convivial aspects in the detective novels written by the Cuban author Leonardo Padura. These novels inscribe themselves into a long tradition of detective novels which consider the description of food and meals as one of their distinctive features (such as the ones written by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Andrea Cammilleri, just to name a few). I argue that in Padura's novels the mention of food and cooking performs many different functions within the text. First of all food complement the social backdrop of the story and set the Cuban character of the novel, bringing in the elements of syncretism, mestizaje and hybridity which are essential to fully understand Cuban identity. The author always presents classical dishes of the Cuban tradition, recovering the cultural roots of its characters and of his nation. However in Padura's novel cooking and food are also an important indicator of the specific historical moment in which the story is set and they provide important elements to understand the social situation of the time. References to cooking and food are used here to describe the food shortage affecting the island, as a consequence of the US embargo, and to denounce the hidden or semi-hidden presence of the black market economy in Cuba. Secondly food contributes strongly to the characterization of the protagonist of Padura's novels: the detective Mario Conde. In this case food, is used to describe the personal and psychological world of the protagonist and his affective sphere. Finally the convivial aspect of food allows Padura to represent the emotional bond between his characters and to trace the profile of a specific generation of Cubans born just before the Revolution and educated in the Revolutionary ideology. Food provides, thus, the opportunity to bridge the national tradition and memory with a specific generational experience and identity.

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Adiós, Hemingway: il falso policial si piega all'analisi antropologica

2009-01-01, Battaglia, Diana Rosa

Leonardo Padura Fuentes oggi è uno dei giallisti cubani più conosciuti e letti all’estero. I suoi romanzi interpretano la realtà in modo critico e disincantato. Lo scrittore svolge la sua critica dall’interno dell’Isola e utilizza la sua arte per descrivere la complessità sociale habanera tramite una nuova forma di romanzo poliziesco.

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El concepto de tiempo en Pasado perfecto de Leonardo Padura Fuentes: dualidad estructural y multiplicidad temática

2011-05-10, Battaglia, Diana Rosa

Pasado perfecto es la primera novela de la tetralogía Las cuatro estaciones. Las cuatro novelas tienen como protagonista al Teniente Mario Conde. Cada una transcurre en una estación del año 1989, fecha de importancia capital, ya que la caída del muro de Berlín representará el fin de la guerra fría y, al mismo tiempo, un golpe muy duro para el sistema socialista cubano. Las cuatro partes giran en torno a otros tantos crímenes con sus raíces hundidas en el pasado investigado por “el Conde”. La investigación policial, por su misma naturaleza, es una búsqueda en el pasado para reconstruir los acontecimientos que causaron los homicidios, pero en el caso de Conde, ese constante mirar hacia atrás tiene también un valor distinto ya que por un lado forma parte de su instinto y de su personalidad y por el otro le permite reinterpretar de forma más personal y subjetiva la historia de su país.

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The emergence of a Cuban socio-cultural phenomenon: el falso policial by Leonardo Padura Fuentes

2013-01-01, Battaglia, Diana Rosa

In this article I will examine contemporary Cuban crime fiction through the various manifestations of its relations to the State. My study is based on the premise that it is possible to establish a link between State traditions and crime genre. Here I am interested in exploring the consequences of this relationship inside the Cuban context, to establish to what extent recent social and economic changes find an echo in crime literature.