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Five great books set in Argentina

2nd July 2019

Argentina is the latest country for us to visit in our ‘Great books set in…’ series. Five great books set in Argentina.

Five great books set in Argentina

As one of our chosen books set in Argentina says, this enigmatic South American country is arguably ‘like Europe and not like the rest of Latin America‘. Here are 5 fascinating books set in Argentina which we hope you’ll enjoy:

The Secret in their Eyes by Eduardo Sacheri

The novel that was adapted into the brilliant Oscar-winning film.

Benjamín Chaparro is a retired detective still obsessed by the brutal, decades-old rape and murder of a young married woman in her own bedroom. While attempting to write a book about the case, he revisits the details of the investigation. As he reaches into the past, Chaparro also recalls the beginning of his long, unrequited love for Irene Hornos, then just an intern, now a respected judge.

Set in the Buenos Aires of the 1970s, Sacheri’s tale reveals the underpinnings of Argentina’s Dirty War and takes on the question of justice—what it really means and in whose hands it belongs.

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Far South by David Enrique Spellman

Gerardo Fischer is missing. Can you help?

Theatre director Gerardo Fischer has vanished from the Argentinian artists’ colony where he was rehearsing a pioneering new work. No note. No warning. No trace. His colleagues are frightened for him, so they call in Juan Manuel Pérez, an ex-cop, now private investigator.

Far South is Pérez’s casebook, compiled as he searches for Fischer. Read the book. Follow the links and QR codes to access short films, audio recordings and YouTube videos. Trust no-one. Question everything. Be a part of the mystery…..

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The Argentina Reader by Gabriela Nouzeilles & Graciela Montaldo

Excessively European, refreshingly European, not as European as it looks, struggling to overcome a delusion that it is European. Argentina – in all its complexity – has often been obscured by variations of the “like Europe and not like the rest of Latin America” cliche.

The Argentina Reader deliberately breaks from that viewpoint. This essential introduction to Argentina’s history, culture, and society provides a richer, more comprehensive look at one of the most paradoxical of Latin American nations: a nation that used to be among the richest in the world, with the largest middle class in Latin America, yet one that entered the twenty-first century with its economy in shambles and its citizenry seething with frustration.

This diverse collection brings together songs, articles, comic strips, scholarly essays, poems, and short stories. Most pieces are by Argentines. More than forty of the texts have never before appeared in English. The Argentina Reader contains photographs from Argentina’s National Archives and images of artwork by some of the country’s most talented painters and sculptors.

The bulk of the collection focuses on the twentieth century: on the popular movements that enabled Peronism and the revolutionary dreams of the 1960s and ’70s; on the dictatorship from 1976 to 1983 and the accompanying culture of terror and resistance; and, finally, on the contradictory and disconcerting tendencies unleashed by the principles of neoliberalism and the new global economy.

The book also includes a list of suggestions for further reading. The Argentina Reader is an invaluable resource for those interested in learning about Argentine history and culture, whether in the classroom or in preparation for travel in Argentina.

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With Love, the Argentina Family by Mirta Ines Trupp

With Love, The Argentina Family ~ Memories of Tango and Kugel; Mate with Knishes is a unique account, enlightening and inspirational with its autobiographical genuineness.

The story unfolds in “die goldene medina” – America – sharing the insecurities and confusion of a young, immigrant girl. With a mother who never stops crying about The Argentina Family and a father who procures employment with an international airline, her life is divided in between her adopted country and her native land.

Dramas and simchas (delights, joys) abound with a long distance, whirlwind relationship unfolding in the aftermath of Argentina’s “Dirty War”, including a frightening interrogation with the Argentine Police and an astonishing encounter at the American Consulate.

Follow the sometimes comical, sometimes poignant trials and tribulations of a girl coming to terms with her Jewish heritage, her Argentine traditions and her fierce American patriotism.

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A Quiet Flame by Philip Kerr

The action switches largely between Berlin in 1932 – and Bernie’s last abandoned case as a police officer when the mutilated body of a spastic teenage girl is discovered – and Buenos Aires in 1950 where he is invited to investigate a case with striking similarities.

Many twists lie ahead as the investigations come together until the final shocking revelation.

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Andrew for the TripFiction Team

Which titles would you add to the list? Remember there are more than 40 to choose from in the Argentina listings on TripFiction…! Each will transport you to some excellent fiction, travelogues or memoirs set in this intriguing country. Or you may have your own favourites you would like to add. Please leave your thoughts in the Comments box below.

Other posts in our ‘Ten/five great books set in…’ series that might interest you, and look out for more ‘great books‘ posts set in other South American countries:

Five great books set in Mexico

Five great books set in San Francisco

Five great books set in California

Ten great books set in New York

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  1. User: Claire Harris

    Posted on: 03/07/2019 at 11:46 pm

    The Honorary Consul by Graham Greene! Read many years ago!
    I haven’t read any on this list…as yet!


    1 Comment

    • User: andrewmorris51

      Posted on: 04/07/2019 at 1:22 am

      Great shout, thanks Claire! I read The Honorary Consul for my English’O-Level’ a lifetime ago. It wasn’t on the TF database…but it will be now. Thanks for highlighting this classic Greene novel, one of his own favourites, by all accounts. TF’s Andrew


  2. User: barbara baer

    Posted on: 02/07/2019 at 4:35 pm

    What a great list, would like to read all but for now, Philip Kerr because I’ve been following his Bernie Gunter novels with a passion. Thanks.