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Crimes against the State, Crimes against Persons

Detective Fiction in Cuba and Mexico

2004
Author:

Persephone Braham

Crimes against the State, Crimes against Persons

An interpretation of the ideologies and kinships of detective fiction in Cuba and Mexico

Persephone Braham shows how the Cuban novela negra examines the Revolution through a chronicle of life under a decaying regime, and how the Mexican neopoliciaco reveals the oppressive politics of modernization in Latin America.

Considering the work of writers such as Leonardo Padura Fuentes as well as G. K. Chesterton, Braham addresses Marxist critiques of the culture industry and Latin American postmodernity.

Persephone Braham’s Crimes Against the State, Crimes Against Persons: Detective Fiction in Cuba and Mexico is an innovative and highly accessible addition to the small but growing corpus of critical material in English on non-Anglophone detective literature. Braham’s study deploys a vast range of theoretical standpoints and analytical frameworks and studies a considerable number of texts. In the text’s breadth, range, and eclecticism, however, lie its originality, charm, and eminent readability.

Clues

The transplanted, inherently modern detective genre serves as an especially effective lens for exposing the fissures and divergences of modernity in post-1968 Mexico and revolutionary Cuba.

Combining in-depth critical analyses with the theoretical insights of current literary and cultural theory and Latin American postmodern studies, Crimes against the State, Crimes against Persons shows how the Cuban novela negra examines the Revolution through an incisive chronicle of life under a decaying regime, and how the Mexican neopoliciaco reveals the oppressive politics of modernization and globalization in Latin America.

International in scope, comparative in approach, Braham’s study presents a unique inquiry into the ethical and aesthetic complexities that Latin American authors face in adapting genre detective fiction—a modern, metropolitan model—to radically diverse creative and ideological programs. Considering the work of writers such as Leonardo Padura Fuentes and Paco Ignacio Taibo II, as well as such English-language influences as G. K. Chesterton and Chester Himes, Braham also addresses Marxist critiques of the culture industry and emergent Latin American concepts of postmodernity.

Crimes against the State, Crimes against Persons

Persephone Braham is assistant professor of Spanish at the University of Delaware.

Crimes against the State, Crimes against Persons

Persephone Braham’s Crimes Against the State, Crimes Against Persons: Detective Fiction in Cuba and Mexico is an innovative and highly accessible addition to the small but growing corpus of critical material in English on non-Anglophone detective literature. Braham’s study deploys a vast range of theoretical standpoints and analytical frameworks and studies a considerable number of texts. In the text’s breadth, range, and eclecticism, however, lie its originality, charm, and eminent readability.

Clues

Crimes against the State, Crimes against Persons

Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Latin American Detective Literature in Context ix
1. Origins and Ideologies of the Neopoliciaco Cuba: Crimes against the State
2. A Revolutionary Aesthetic 21
3. Masking, Unmasking, and the Return to Signifi cation Mexico: Crimes against Persons
4. Contesting “la mexicanidad” 65
5. The Dismembered City 81

Epilogue: Globalization and Detective Literature in Spanish 101
Notes
Bibliography

Index