Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Hispanic Studies


Rafael Montano


This dissertation examines the development of the characters in the detective series of Paco Ignacio Taibo II (Mexico) and Leonardo Padura Fuentes (Cuba) and their relationship with their Hispanic-American cities: Mexico D.F. and Havana. To accomplish it, this dissertation initially deals with the connection between the “neo policiaco” and the narrative tradition that precedes it: the classical detective story or whodunit and the American hardboiled crime story, as well as its link with Spanish contemporary detective fiction. As a result, the Hispanic-American “neo policiaco” explores new possibilities of detective narratives in which complex characters and the Hispanic American city as a new narrative space stand out. The character created by Paco Ignacio Taibo II, builds an environment marked by uncertainty and game. The analysis of the bond of the character with the city applies the definition of urban by Georg Simmel as it is distinguished by the multiplicity of stimuli and the rhythm established by the division of labor. The relationship with the urban rhythm, the spaces and the mass media of Mexico D.F. emerges through the personality of the character. For the detective series created by Leonardo Padura, the analysis focuses on the set of tensions that are present in the daily life of the character; that is, between his creative impulse through literature and the feeling of emptiness generated by his professional activity, existential experience and social environment. Carrying out this analysis took into consideration his group of friends, his loves and his fondness for literature. For his relationship with the city the character highlights aesthetics and remembrances, along with recognition of Havana as a space of contrast and deterioration. There is also the perception of the new Havana, strange to the detective, the result of the assimilation of values like greed and cynicism, which are alien to those rooted in the character.