As part of the 29th edition of the Book Fair, Cuban writer Leonardo Padura’s Past Perfect and Winds of Lent were presented. Afterwards, Ediciones Unión will publish a second volume with Máscaras y Paisaje de otoño
Published: Friday 14 February 2020 | 12:36:15 pm.
By Dailene Dovale de la Cruz firstname.lastname@example.org
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews.
I woke up today with a book in my hands. I read it when I wake up, while I have breakfast, in the bathroom, before getting dressed, when I walk, inside the bus -sweaty and stress- in the Faculty… I lined it with an old magazine to take care of it among so many adventures. He’s my first literary love at this Book Fair.
It was Sunday, February 9, 2020. I had arrived at the entrance of Morro Cabaña. A friend of mine – curly hair, a skinny, ungainly body – greeted me. That day they were presenting Padura’s book, and I suddenly found a direction for my absent-minded steps.
The Alejo Carpentier room received passionate readers, who arrived hours before the meeting, sat down, lined up in a very long queue to buy the book, waited, got excited. Leonardo Padura presented the first two parts of Tetralogía de La Habana: Pasado Perfecto and Vientos de Cuaresma. Later, Ediciones Unión will publish a second volume with Masks and Autumn Landscape.
What is the Count up to, people ask him in the street. Your Mario Conde has transcended printed paper and is no longer yours, or perhaps he never was at all. For Francisco López Sacha this is the Cuban character of the 20th century, just as Cecilia Valdés was in the 19th century.
Leonardo Padura looked confident, proud of his work and of Conde in particular. The afternoon passed peacefully. And the space, small and warm, was full but in total silence. They listened.
Padura spoke of his need to narrate so as not to go crazy in the early 1990s and how his favorite reader is the Cuban public, the one he thinks about while writing in his native Mantilla.
After the immense queue, of passing and paying – “one book per person”-, of receiving with emotion the dedication, the individual is left in front of the work. Why do so many people follow and adore Mario Conde and Padura? That could be the first classic question.
Padura’s novels burst onto the literary scene, to change some fixed judgments especially regarding the crime novel. They are very Cuban novels, in the author’s own words, without imitating some somewhat predictable patterns that characterized part of the detective novel published in the country during the 1970s (with its exceptions).
See here this Timeline (Scroll down for slide show)
In Past Perfect, for example, the “hero” accumulates defects, vices, incurs a compartment that we could call immoral or that borders on such classification. Nevertheless, it is he who gets up to work – even after a drunken, haggard and exhausted bout. It is he who feels and loves his city, with all its defects… On the obverse side, there are the unpolluted, perfect and false. On them, after the typical characterization (an impeccable man), little dirty rags begin to fall (which in the end are a whole dump).
These novels are social criticism, still valid and necessary. The kind of book that catches you on a Sunday afternoon, and accompanies you during your breakfast/lunchtime meals, when you wake up or after you go to sleep. All that remains is to invite you to let yourself be caught. Conde, a little bit disheveled, will teach you the well-known phrase about deceptive appearances and will make you reflect a little bit on Cuba, Havana and how each one assumes and builds life, in the middle of their circumstances.
By Redaccion OnCuba
January 27, 2018
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews[The sign says, “If we weren’t Cubans, we would pay to be.”]
Padura, who was in the Spanish city of Toledo to present his new novel La transparencia del tiempo, answered reporters’ questions, that although he can’t be sure, he believes Trump is president “because in ahead of him, there was a candidate who was a woman.
And, in the United States, it was easier to have a black president than a female president, it’s a very complicated society,” he added.
Cuban writer Leonardo Padura said that the president of the United States, Donald Trump,”is the sin that Americans themselves are paying for their way of thinking”.
In this regard, he recalled that the story he tells in his latest novel takes place fundamentally in 2014 and ends with the beginning of talks between Cuba and the United States to re-establish relations.
It was a very hopeful development for the vast majority of Cubans and a large majority of Americans. But unfortunately, one of President Trump’s fundamental policies has been to dismantle President Obama’s policies,” said Padura.
I don’t believe that he has had a definite policy, except in the dismantling of what Obama created, and that’s where Cuba also fell,” said the writer, for whom relations between Cuba and the United States were restored but not normalized,” because, with an economic and financial embargo there can’t be normal relations.
In this context, he stressed that the Cuban community in Miami “is really very important.
It is a community that has made great efforts, which has even been able to accumulate capital “and will be important in the future development of Cuba,” according to Padura. He added that although in his principles this community “was characterized by being totally hostile to the Cuban revolutionary system,” now other more open generations have arrived.
The new generation of Cubans from Miami is much more open, its members travel to Cuba very often ” and they feel Cuban,” said Padura. He added that he has personally perceived that “it is increasingly possible for a Cuban artist living in Cuba to present himself as something normal in Miami.
There is an atmosphere “in which you can find some sense of hostility,” although he pointed out that “this has remained for a political class for which the bad relationship with Cuba is part of their work and is also part of their business.
But, in general, I feel that it is a community that has changed a lot in recent times. The historical exile no longer exists,” said Padura, who, for this novel brings back the character of police officer Mario Conde, who has starred in half a dozen novels.
In the plot, Conde is going to turn 60 years old and age begins to worry him. Not because of vanity,”but because he wants to witness things that may happen in the future” even though he is a man obsessed with the past “and knows that this vital period is running out”.