Prose in Exile

In Cuba, Bestselling Writer Laments Forgotten Generation in New Genre, Literature of Disappointment

Leonardo Padura, one of Cuba's greatest writers. Source: La Entrevista.
Leonardo Padura, one of Cuba's greatest writers.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Leonardo Padura’s novels are about freedom, totalitarianism, hope and a loss of values, as well as opportunism, and the drama of being in exile.

  • Facts


    • Leonardo Padura is Cuba’s most successful writer but isn’t allowed to publish in his home country.
    • Like many people of his generation, Mr. Padura writes about Cuba’s misery as a country.
    • In order to counter this trauma, many Cuban authors such as Senel Paz, Arturo Arango and Ena Lucia Portela have developed the “literature of disappointment.”
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It is something Mr. Padura thinks about a lot.

“Every time I finish a novel, I think about the fact that it can’t be published in my own country,” he said.

But his works do get published. In fact, the last one, “The Man who loved Dogs,” sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide. It is the story of the murderer of Leon Trotsky, the Russian revolutionary who spent his last years in Cuba before he was murdered in Mexico. The book is a criticism of Stalinism. Mr. Padura often writes about individual freedom.

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