Mario Conde's Dream - Ava Gardener's KnickersWednesday, January 17, 2018
To my delight when we arrived at the Mexico City Benito Juarez airport I found a brand new novel by my favourite contemporary Cuban novelist, cigar chomping Leonardo Padura who for reasons I ignore dropped his maternal surname of Fuentes a few years ago.
I have written about him here and here. But for those too lazy to click on links I want to place here one of the most erotic passages I have ever read from Padura’s novel Adiós Hemingway:
Adiós Hemingway by Leonardo Padura is an ingenious murder mystery that has Hemingway as a protagonist and the novel shifts back and forth when a body is found buried in Hemingway's La Finca Vigía which is now a lovingly restored museum in Havana. The investigator of the murder (the body is from Hemingway's period and an FBI badge is found nearby) is retired policeman Mario Conde who is attempting to be a writer and finds Hemingway as inspiration having seen him at a dock by his yacht as a boy. The book is lovely even translated into English and the famous swimming pool of Taibo's novels here plays an important part, too. Our investigator falls asleep on Hemingway's bed and has a stupendous wet dream! The dream has all to do with a pair of black lace nickers that are introduced here where the caretaker/curator of Hemingway's villa asks Conde, the investigator if he had been at the finca before.
But you didn't see the weapons.'
'No. They're in the tower, aren't they?'
'Yes. And I bet you didn't see Ava Gardener's knickers, either."
Conde felt a pang.
"You sure about them?'
'Couldn't be surer.'
'No I didn't see them. But I've got to see them. The nearest thing to seeing a woman naked is seeing her underwear. I must see them. What color are they?'
'Black, with lace. Hemingway used them to wrap around his .22 revolver.
And the dream begins like this:
He saw her when she was already on the edge of the swimming-pool. She was wearing a fresh flowery bath-robe and her hair was loose, falling around her shoulders. He thought her hair seemed lighter than he remembered and he once more enjoyed the perfect beauty of her face. She said something he couldn't hear or didn't understand, perhaps on account of the noise that his own arms were making in the water. He moved them so as not to sink, and they felt heavy and almost not part of him. Then she took off her bathrobe. She wasn't wearing a swimsuit underneath, just a bra and pair of knickers, black ones, made of revealing lace. The cups of the bra were provocative and he could see, through the lace, the pink aureole of her nipples.
The above passage proceeds in the kind of stuff that I used to read by sneaking into my mother's Frank G Slaughter novels which had passages that taught me what sex was all about in that distant pre-internet era of my youth.