A Study of Contemporary Cuban and Cuban American Crime Fiction
The author demonstrates how contemporary writers have been influenced both by the American hard-boiled crime fiction genre and by the legacy of the socialist detective fiction that was promoted in Cuba by the Castro regime in the 1970s. By focusing on works produced both within and outside of Cuba, the book taps into wider debates concerning the concept of post-nationality. The cultural fluidity that characterizes these new variants of crime fiction calls into question traditional boundaries between national literatures and cultures.
ii Although the application of the term postnational points to the aes- thetic and cultural changes brought about by the impact of globalization in the twenty-first century there is a danger that such a blanket term could undermine the cultural specificity of these writers’ works. What makes their fiction distinctive is not only the way in which they push back generic and cultural boundaries but also the precision of their individual insights into certain contexts. Padura Fuentes provides a detailed dramatization of issues relating to censorship and masculinity in the Havana of 1989 onwards, while Abella explores the conf licts and contradictions inherent in trying to forge a Cuban-American sense of identity in 1990s Los Angeles. All of the writers to varying degrees of fer some direct comparisons between the social and cultural problems experienced by Cubans who have left Havana to go to the US, or Cuban Americans or Cuban exiles who have returned to Cuba after having lived in the US. The device of shuttling backwards and forwards between the locations of Miami and Havana is particularly prominent in the novels of Garcia-Aguilera and Latour; it underscores problems of cultural assimilation into the US, nostalgia for the homeland of Cuba, and also the sense of not quite belonging in either context. The works of these writers therefore combine a vivid depiction of certain loca- tions and characters with an openness to international inf luences. While the terms Cuban, Cuban American, and Cuban exile are not redundant, it is...
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