To the Fair with Padura but…

Many followers of the renowned Cuban writer “were in for a disappointment” when faced by the absence of the reprinting of several of his books that had been announced as part of the programme of presentations of the 26th Havana International Book Fair.

Many of the readers who follow Leonardo Padura expected to find in the recently concluded 2017 Havana International Book Fair a good (and almost only) opportunity to purchase some of the Cuban author’s best-liked works, but most of them had to again leave empty handed.

Although a reprinting of several of his titles had already been announced, the truth is that because of different reasons – some understandable and other not so much -, only two provincial publishing houses were able to meet their aim of bringing Padura’s sought books to the country’s most important literary event: Acana and Matanzas Publishers.


Matanzas Publishers, of the Provincial Book Centre of the Athens of Cuba, this year fulfilled an old and always postponed effort to publish La novela de mi vida, perhaps Padura’s best work and which the writer describes as “the most Matanzan,” which has among its principal characters Cuban poet and patriot José María Heredia, who lived in the beautiful city an important stage of his stay on the island and with which he maintained very strong ties.


This new edition of La novela de mi vida was presented on February 15 in La Cabaña with the presence of its author and the 600 copies that were up for sale rapidly ran out. Another presentation of the novel is previewed in the very City of Bridges with the presence of Padura as guest.


Acana, from the Provincial Book Centre of Camagüey, reprinted a volume which collects Adiós Hemingway and La cola de la serpiente, originally published in Cuba by Unión Publishers, of the Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba (UNEAC). This title was presented on the 17th in the principal venue of the Fair and also ran out. The novelty of this reprinting is that version included of La cola de la serpiente is the fruit of the rewriting of the original story, now longer, which was published in Spain by Tusquet Publishers in 2011.


The reprinting of other titles of the author were also included in the plans, among them La neblina del ayer (Havana Fever) and the tetralogy “Las CuatroEstaciones” (Pasado perfecto [Havana Blue], Vientos de cuaresma [Havana Gold], Máscaras [Havana Red] and Paisaje de otoño [Havana Black]), all of them from the series of the character Mario Conde, reprinted by Unión Publishers; the novel Herejes, as well as the essay Un camino de mediosiglo: AlejoCarpentier y la narrative de lo real maravilloso, by EdicionesCubanas publishers; while El hombre queamaba a los perros (The Man Who Loved Dogs) reprinted for the third time in Cuba by the Panama-based Aurelia Publishers, in coordination with Artex’ EdicionesCubanas Publishers; however, none of them got to be presented at the Fair. In the first case because the printing was late, according to the explanation of the editors, in the one for Herejes and Un camino… because the publishing house lost its import quota, and in El hombre queamaba a los perros because at the last minute, according to what was known, the Cuban side made the decision to cancel its presentation in Casa de lasAméricas where it had originally been previewed. And although the book already exists, in a careful hard cover edition and another normal one, both with an exceptional quality in the Cuban context and that would be sold in convertible currency, there’s no news about the possible date of its presentation.


Aurelia Publishers also assumed the reprinting in co-publishing with EdicionesCubanas of Un camino de mediosiglo: AlejoCarpentier y la narrativa de lo real maravilloso, an essay that reveals the investigative and critical facet of Padura and which has become an indispensable book for the study of Carpentier’s work. Its presentation is also pending date and place.


During the recently concluded Book Fair, Padura also participated in two talks organised by Planeta México Publishers to pay tribute to Nobel Prize for Literature Gabriel GarcíaMárquez, one of the great authors of the language in the universal sphere.


In upcoming months Padura will participate in several book fairs and literary festivals in Latin America and Europe, and will travel to the United Kingdom and the United States to present the recent release with translation into English of his prize-winning novel Herejes. (2017)

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