Dossier

Indigenous Literature

Editor’s Pick

La transparencia del tiempo by Leonardo Padura Fuentes

To Mario Conde - about to turn sixty, a man who feels more in crisis and skeptical about his country than usual - a package unexpectedly arrives from his old high school friend, Bobby. He is asking him for help finding a stolen statue of a black Virgin. Conde discovers that the piece is much more valuable than he has been told; his friend confesses to him that it belonged to his Spanish grandfather who, fleeing the Civil War, brought it along from a shrine in the Catalan Pyrenees. In the shady backrooms of Havana, Conde meets a suspicious man who ends up dead. With the murder of another accomplice, Conde uncovers a shocking plot amongst gallery owners, collectors, and foreign parties interested in medieval handicrafts, inevitably crossing paths with Havana’s homicide detectives. La tranparencia del tiempo also tells the epic of the statue, a black Virgin with roots in the Last Crusade and brought back to the Pyrenees shrine by one Antoni Barral. Of course, it would be another Antoni Barral who would rescue it, considering himself obligated to embark as a stowaway en route to Havana.  

Fractura by Andrés Neuman

Mr. Watanabe, a survivor of the atomic bomb, feels like a fugitive from his own memory, and is about to take one of the most crucial decisions of his life. The earthquake that precipitated the Fukushima accident provokes a shift that stirs the collective past. 

Four women narrate their lives and memories of Mr. Watanabe to an enigmatic Argentine journalist on a sentimental and political tour of cities like Tokyo, Paris, New York, Buenos Aires, and Madrid. This crossing of languages, countries, and couples reveals how nothing happens in just one place, just as every occurrence expands to the point that it causes its antithesis to tremble. It touches on the manner in which societies remember and, above all, forget. 

In Fractura, love and humor are interwoven, along with history and energy and the beauty that emerges from broken things. With this novel, Andrés Neuman returns with force to long-form narrative, precisely the style that set off his international fame in El viajero del siglo, signaling his best work yet.