I agreed to meet Leonardo Padura at his house in Mantilla, a neighbourhood of simple homes with small porches on the outskirts of Havana, and go on to the restaurant from there.

Cuba’s best-known writer has always lived here — his mother still lives downstairs — in a two-storey home that he partially built with his own hands and which stands on a noisy thoroughfare, two doors up from the "Victory" bakery with a Fidel Castro slogan on its wall.

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