Words leave imprints in your mind like footprints in the sand...
Prague, Czech Republic
Uluru, Australia
  • Location: Havana, Cuba

The Transparency of Time

The Transparency of Time

Why a Booktrail?

2000s: A man reaches 60 and thinks of the life he’s lived.

  • ISBN: 978-1913394578
  • Translator: Anna Kushner
  • Genre: Crime

What you need to know before your trail

Mario Conde is facing down his sixtieth birthday. What does he have to show for his decades on the planet? A failing body, a slower mind, and a decrepit country, in which both the ideals and failures of the Cuban Revolution are being swept away in favour of a new and newly cosmopolitan worship of money.

Rescue comes in the form of a new case: an old Marxist turned flamboyant practitioner of Santeria appears on the scene to engage Conde to track down a stolen statue of the Virgen de Regla – a black Madonna. This sets Conde on a quest that spans twenty-first century Havana as well as the distant past, as he delves as far back as the Crusades in an attempt to uncover the true provenance of the statue.


Travel Guide

A historical booktrail through Cuba

Through vignettes from the life of a Catalan peasant named Antoni Barral, who appears throughout history in different guises – as a shepherd during the Spanish Civil War, as vassal to a feudal lord – we trace the Madonna to present-day Cuba. With Barral serving as Conde’s alter ego, unstuck in time, and Conde serving as the author’s, we are treated to a panorama of history, and reminded of the impossibility of ever remaining on its sidelines, no matter how obscure we may think our places in the action.


Havana is wonderfully evoked and it is one of the most fascinating cities ever. It’s a historical oddity in many ways and a city clearly marked with vestiges of its former splendor. The author evokes that feeling and its love of music and culture well. It’s quite the picture!

 Virgin de Regla

This is a statue of the Black Madonna who is popular in Cuba.

BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Transparency of Time

Destination/location: Havana, Cuba  Author/guide:  Leonardo Padura  Departure Time: 2000s

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