HAVANA, June 27th (HT) At home we are all delighting with the latest novel by Cuban writer Leonardo Padura, widely read abroad but barely mentioned in our country.
The novel is titled Como polvo en el viento (Like dust in the wind). It tells the story of a group of friends and how that friendship is sustained over the years, going through the vicissitudes of economic crises, politics, love and exile. It is a heartbreaking text for all Cubans, both here and abroad.
In my home and among the friends who visit us we have shared it in digital format. Thus, every time we talk about it, we ask ourselves the same questions, which page are you on? Have you reached the chapter “The woman who spoke to the horses?” etc. We only allow ourselves to talk about the chapters that we have all already read.
My brother carries the novel on his cell phone and sits down to read it anywhere. Once even he even lost his turn in a chicken line and returned to his house empty-handed.
I feel total devotion to this author. He is a complete Cuban, he touches on all the issues that concern those of this land without leaving anything to chance. I have cried and laughed, I identify with all his characters, and I don’t want to finish reading it. In that he reminds me of Milan Kundera and his unforgettable novel “La unbearable lightness of being.”
I don’t know when Cuban readers will have the possibility of having Como Polvo en el Viento printed on paper and with the quality that one of our authors deserves. It is regrettable that Leonardo Padura’s work is not better known in Cuba among his natural audience.
I want to take the opportunity that Havana Times gives me to recommend this text that has made me think so much. Each chapter is a surprise. In the one entitled “The final victory”, he mentions even the remoras, that nice little fish that swims with the sharks. Nothing escapes his genuinely Cuban sensibility.
These days I have inquired on Facebook about the life and work of this writer of ours and the impact this novel has had in the world.
I have been surprised, full of admiration and outraged. Among other things, I learned that the novel is about to be published in Greek, Italian, German and Portuguese. The presentation in French is scheduled for the month of September.
I also learned that it has been a finalist in an important international literary competition and its author, Leonardo Padura, will give a workshop of three conferences for the communications agency Catalejo de Chile, and will also be part of the jury that selects the Asturias Award for Literature, etc…
But nothing in Cuba, just the isolated emotion of those of us who have been able to read his latest novel and share it as if it were a secret document. Why hasn’t the Cuban media been busy spreading this great work? Published books have not been lacking. Who decides what Cubans should read?
Padura is a great journalist, his articles have as many followers in the world as his novels. Why is he hardly known in Cuba? At this moment I must contain my emotion. I will only add that Leonardo Padura is ours and for all the reasons that his work, exemplary attitude towards truth, life and art are also ours.