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Crime Scenes

Latin American Crime Fiction from the 1960s to the 2010s

Edited By Charlotte Lange and Ailsa Peate

Crime fiction has become a key element in Latin American literature. The rise in production of the genre can be explained by an urgency to explore issues of morality in societies which incorporate varying levels of censorship and corruption. Through a focus on the concept of the crime scene itself, this book identifies and interrogates some of the principal developments in contemporary Latin American crime fiction. In ten chapters which cover Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela, and generic diversity which spans police procedurals, narcoliteratura, postmodern detection, and historical portrayals of crimes, the authors investigate how the crime scene – which has always been central to the genre and its subgenres – critiques local and global issues, including social injustice, discrimination, neoliberalism, violence, identity, corruption, and memory.

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8 Havana Noir: Space and Memory in Leonardo Padura’s Mario Conde Detective Series (Diana Battaglia)

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DIANA BATTAGLIA

8 Havana Noir: Space and Memory in Leonardo Padura’s Mario Conde Detective Series

ABSTRACT

This chapter explores the connection between urban geography and memory, in the Mario Conde detective series by the Cuban writer Leonardo Padura Fuentes. It will endeavour to show how, taking advantages of the social nature of the neopolicial genre and of the use of the urban space as a privileged setting, Padura provides an extremely complex and varied representation of Havana. Using Nora’s concept of lieux de mémoire, the cityspace will be linked to the remembering process and interpreted as the key to personal and collective memories. The memorial process enacted by the main protagonist: Mario Conde, will be read as a form of voluntary memory that performs a critical function: recalling different historical moments and generational experiences in order to trace the socio-historical development of Cuba in the post-revolutionary and post-Soviet period.

This chapter explores the centrality of space and, particularly, the connection between urban geography and memory in the detective novels written by Cuban writer Leonardo Padura Fuentes. Padura is well known for his crime fiction series featuring the detective Mario Conde1 and is considered one of the most important exponents of the Latin American neopolicial. This form of socio-politically committed literature presents strong links with the historical and geographical context in which it is produced, since its main concern is the representation of the social fabric and the description...

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