A Literary Analysis of The Beggar’s Opera …

A Belgian graduate student, Alexandra Sanchez, wrote a very interesting article recently in which she  compared the world view expressed in The Beggar’s Opera  to that of Leon Padura in his mystery novel Pasado Perfecto.

It’s a very compelling analysis. Distilled to its essence, she concludes that my perceptions of Cuba (its poverty, and communism) as an outsider reflect an inherent Western supremacy and  that Paduro, a native Cuban, doesn’t really mention these things: they’re a given. Overall, she finds his work more sympathetic to Castro and communism.

I think an outsider writing about another culture will flag things that strike them as inconsistent with their own world view and therefore of interest. So I agree with her: I mention all kinds of things, including the history of the island, that Paduro doesn’t.

But if you read the second book in the series, The Poisoned Pawn, I’m pretty critical of western institutions too (this is a theme that gets further developed in Hungry Ghosts and Umbrella Man, yet to be published). I think that’s a result of my human rights background, which may in itself make the reviewer’s point.

Anyway, here’s a link to the Google translation of the article, Poetics and Politics and the so-called Ethnic Detective.  (I wish I read Dutch, but one of my readers, who is Dutch, says it’s impeccably written). If you do read Dutch, you’ll likely find the original article of interest: here’s the link.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Book Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Literary Analysis of The Beggar’s Opera …

  1. dgkirkwood says:

    Can’t wait to read the next two books!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s