RaveThe Washington Post...Padura attempts nothing less than an inquest into how revolutionary utopias devolve into totalitarian dystopias. At the same time, he has written an irresistible political crime thriller — all the more remarkable considering that we know the ending before we crack open this 576-page tome ... The Man who Loved Dogs, beautifully rendered into English by Anna Kushner, is an exhaustively reported work, chockablock with history ... Indeed, it is Padura’s careful reading of Orwell’s chronicle of the Spanish Civil War, Homage to Catalonia, that animates much of this tragic tale ... A carefully crafted web of relationships threaded through Padura’s characters drives this complex, sometimes over-written narrative ... In his detective novels, he cagily navigated a quasi-permissible space, but in The Man Who Loved Dogs (first published in Spain in 2009), he finally lets it rip. Although Fidel Castro is never mentioned by name, his creation — the Cuban revolution — is rendered here as a crumbling tropical gulag ... as Cuba’s greatest living writer and one who is inching toward the pantheon occupied by Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa, Padura may well now be untouchable.
Norberto Fuentes, Trans. by Anna Kushner
RaveSan Francisco Chronicle...[a] deliciously wicked construct ... as the cliche goes, history gets written by the winners. And therein lies the conceit of this entertaining, edifying and voluminous work (572 pages!) that purports to channel the wily Cuban strongman ... Most Cubaphiles will find Fuentes\' effort to be a masterful act of ventriloquism, offering a Castro who is prideful, intuitively Machiavellian and relentlessly cynical ... What is most remarkable are the many similarities between Castro\'s version and that of Fuentes. However, when Fuentes\' Castro shares the details of his romantic and sexual history, we know we have fully entered the realm of farce. Say what one will - enemies and friends alike attest to Castro\'s mania for privacy ... It was inevitable that Castro would seek to have the last word, but Norberto Fuentes may have trumped him.