Gorgeous, sweeping . . . Heretics is part history, part detective story, but its overarching theme is the tension between the limitless yearnings of the human spirit and the limitations of geography and politics . . . Padura seems to have set his sights on transcending his island nation's political system, rather than defying it. --Charles Lane, The Washington Post
"Like Viet Thanh Nguyen's novel The Sympathizer . . . Padura's Heretics spans and defies literary categories. All of which would only be of ho-hum technical interest if Heretics weren't also an arresting novel about fanaticism, anti-Semitism and the long fall-out of a decades-old moment of political cowardice . . . Padura's ingenious novel is something of a heretic itself: by turns playful, dark, and moving, it traces the great psychic costs--and rewards--that come from nestling so deeply into dogma that nothing is permitted to trigger doubt."
--Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
"A grungy, beautiful gutter epic . . . Rum-soaked and bloody. Dangerous and funny. Chandler in the tropics, if Chandler had a sense of humor and a PhD in art history and Diaspora studies."
--Jason Sheehan, NPR Books
The pages of Cuban author Leonardo Padura's ample feast of a historical novel (translated from the Spanish, con gusto, by Anna Kushner) are populated by 'Heretics' of many sorts--religious, artistic, political and social . . . Mr. Padura displays a painter's eye worthy of his expansive canvas, which includes Dutch burghers in 1647, Jewish refugees escaping Hitler, Cuban baseball fans in the 1950s and disaffected Havana youth of the mid-2000s. This rich prose-panorama proves to be as much a spiritual meditation and a paean to individual freedom as it is a murder mystery and a treasure hunt. --Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal
"The Cuban Leonardo Padura's reputation is ironclad, and if you need reminding why, pick up Heretics . . . It's as much an astringent picture of Padura's own society as a crime fiction outing."
--Barry Forshaw, The Guardian, The Best Recent Thrillers
"A multigenerational epic of baseball, religion, and a mysterious Rembrandt painting . . . Padura's novel does not just place dogma and religious law against human desire . . . Heretics asks us what we remember, and why; do we know anything about our grandparents' traumas, and, if so, why is that generational memory easier to lose in time than a painting?
--Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic
"[A] fantastic novel . . . Now in a stunning translation by the preeminent translator of Cuban literature Anna Kushner, Hereticsdepicts Havana's unorthodox progression into the present with an equally orthodox telling of it . . . As Cuba slowly acclimates to the world and Havana welcomes greater numbers of visitors each year, Heretics may serve as its best novelized introduction."
--Michael Barron, The Culture Trip
"Remarkable . . . [Padura] moves with agility and ease from the formal discussion of heresy and the history of persecution to the drink-enabled chatter of contemporary friends. There's a through-line of speculative investigation--whether as to the existence of God, the coming of a false Messiah, the provenance of the Rembrandt or the identity of the art thief and his murderer."
--Nicholas Delbanco, Moment magazine
Padura deftly handles complex issues of Jewish identity in Cuba, as well as Cuban identity on the island before and after Batista and in Miami; ultimately, he encompasses the whole richness of modern Cuban and Jewish history. This is a major novel and a testament to Padura's stature as a writer. --Mark Levine, Booklist (starred review)
The intensive, richly detailed narrative is at once a portrait of Cuban upbringing, a meditation on anti-Semitism, and an intriguing account of the painting. . . Highly recommended. --Library Journal (starred review)
A beautifully teeming novel of revelation and family history, alive with the cadences of Cuba and the sorrows and hopes of the WWII Jewish diaspora. This book is also a lavish detective story, unraveling across continents and cultures and decades as it probes the meaning of a single, beguiling masterpiece--a small Rembrandt portrait of Christ that refuses to be silenced in the folds of art history.
--Dominic Smith, author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos
The perfect blend of historical, social, and espionage fiction. An adventure that without a respite. The best novel of the eight that Padura has written with Conde as protagonist . . . Enjoy it. --Juan Carlos Galindo, El Paï¿½s
Cuban mysterian Padura returns with another installment in his Mario Conde detective series, this one following a Rembrandt portrait over centuries and continents . . . Padura capably works here in Perez-Reverte territory, where art and ideas meet mayhem. Smart and satisfying. --Kirkus Reviews