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Abstract

This paper explores Mayra Montero’s novel Dancing to “Almendra” as a specifically postcolonial revision of the classic detective novel. Through an examination of the novel’s generic characteristics, I argue that elements that might be at first considered mere postmodern play—the conflation of the real and the performed or the illusion, anachronistic film references, the implantation of historical figures and cinematic personas alike into an otherwise fictional detective narrative—serves the novel’s socially committed, political critique. The doubling and smoke and mirrors that structure the novel ultimately serve to show the truth more clearly, as the postmodern play of performance, smoke, and mirrors breaks down only when confronted with the mutilated body and, by extension, Havana’s political landscape on the brink of revolution.

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