Four Seasons in Havana

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I was delighted to find Four Seasons in Havana, an adaptation of Leonardo Padura’s The Havana Quartet/ Vientos de la Habana on Netflix. I’m a huge fan of the Leonardo Padura’s novels they’re based on: Pasado perfecto (1991, translated as Havana Blue, 2007; Vientos de cuaresma (1994, translated as Havana Gold, 2008); Máscaras (1997, translated as Havana Red, 2005); Paisaje de otoño (1998, translated as Havana Black, 2006).  They’re set in the ‘Special Period’ between the fall of the Soviet Union and the economic reforms and Venezuelan aid of the 2000’s. Like Walter Moseley’s Easy Rawlins novels, part of the conceit and narrative restraint involves the solution of crimes in which the detectives are hampered in their investigation by no-go areas, in the case of Rawlins by virtue of being black, in the case of Mario Conde, Padura’s protagonist, by virtue of the various types of bureaucracy and corruption that hinder his investigations. A good detective novel can sometimes tell us much more about the culture it is based on than a sociological treatise. I’ve not seen enough of the series to recommend it myself but I’m already loving all the on-location shooting, the gorgeous views of Havana, the way people’s homes are furnished and other details not often available to those of us who have visited Havana as tourist. I here mainly want to signal its existence. But it’s been getting good reviews.

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