A brutally mutilated body is discovered washed up in the bay of Havana. The body of Miguel Forcade Mier, head smashed in by a baseball bat, genitals cut off by a dull knife. Forcade, once an official in the Cuban government responsible for the confiscation of the belongings of the bourgeoisie fleeing the revolution, was an exile in Miami. Had he really returned to Havana just to visit his ailing father?
Conde immerses himself in the dark history of expropriations of works of art, paintings that have vanished without trace, corrupt civil servants and old families that lost much, but not everything. Here is the disillusion of Padura's generation, many of them veterans of the war in Angola, dealing with the catastrophe that followed the collapse of Russian aide in the 1990's and now discovering the corruption of those that preceded them. Yet a eulogy of Cuba, its life of music, sex and the great friendships of those who elected to stay and fight for survival.
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