5 Argentine Authors worth Reading that are not Borges

eterna cadencia

Eterna Cadencia Bookstore (Honduras 5574, Palermo) PH:aya padrón

If there’s something that Buenos Aires knows how to do, it’s books. The city is chock full with bookstores, publishing houses, readers and writers alike, and although Borges, and Cortázar are the names that usually come up when it comes to local lit, there is plenty more room to make on the bookshelf for Argentine writers. Below, a pick of five that are well worth the read, just as a starter.

Roberto Arlt: A contemporary to Borges, who belonged to the more “refined” Florida group of authors, Arlt was the greatest exponent of the antagonic Boedo literary group that wrote with more of a social focus. His novels, sometimes more straightforward, sometimes more complex, paint a gritty and unique picture of Buenos Aires and its strange characters.   His novels include Diary of a MorphimaniacMad Toy, Seven MadmenThe Flame-Throwers, and Bewitching Love.

Silvina OCampo: Another Borges contemporary, Silvina, sister to Victoria OCampo and wife of author Bioy Casares, wrote mostly short stories and poetry. She also studied painting and drawing and was one of the first Argentine women authors, alongside poet Alfonsina Storni and Alejandra Pizarnik, to receive recognition for her outstanding literary work. Her writing mostly fits into the fantastic and surreal, displays rich imagery and explores recurring themes related to childhood, mirrors and transformations. Some of her translated works include Thus Were Their Faces and Silvina OCampo (stories and poems) by Jason Weiss.

Rodolfo Fogwill: Sociology graduate and first a businessman, Fogwill began his writing career later on in life and was able to focus solely on it after his short story “Punk Girl” was awarded the first prize in a literary contest. His very famous and truly accomplished novel, Malvinas Requiem:Visions of an Underground War, was written while the war was going on, and rumor has it that it was written on a seventy two hour writing binge.

Juan José Saer: Atmospheres tainted by weather and landscapes contain the sinuous narratives that this master of the novel wrote during his life. Some of his works translated into English include: Shadows on Jeweled Glass, The Witness, The One Before, Nobody Nothing Never, and The Event.

Ricardo Piglia: Celebrated internationally, Piglia wrote short stories, essays and novels about truth and fiction, social and political issues as well as having been a well known literature professor both in Argentina and abroad. His novels include Artificial Respiration, The Absent City,  Burnt Money, Nocturnal Target and One Way Road. 

Argentine Poetry: Evaristo Carriego

(Photo by stevegarfield)

Evaristo Carriego made a brief transit through the city of Buenos Aires, having died young at the age of 29 in 1912. He was a modernist poet from Entre Ríos who published works in some of the most renowned literary magazines of the day, inspired tangos and also, a biography written by Borges. Because of his early death, he published few poetry books: Misas herejes, published in 1908 and the later El alma del suburbio and La canción del barrio, which were published after his death and draw upon local topics such as tango, the barrio and city cafés.

Check out this beautiful performance by tango dancers Carlos Gavito and Marcela Durán of A Evaristo Carriego, a famous tango written by Eduardo Rovira.

And Milonga Carrieguera, composed by Astor Piazzolla.

2012 International Book Fair

The 2012 Feria Internacional del Libro (international book fair) kicks of this Thursday topping off April’s full cultural agenda.  The annual fair is the world’s largest Spanish speaking book fair and displays over 1,500 exhibitors from around the globe.

Each year the event has a different theme, this year it is “A Future with Books”.  This idea will be explored through a digital space where visitors will be able to sample and purchase e-books, also through a series of conferences that will put into question some of the issues that arise with technology in relation to publishing and copyright, amongst others.  To support the theme there will also be a map of the most important literary events in the city, video-poetry and audio-books from Mexico, Spain and Belgium, artistic performances that will interpret short stories by Argentine authors, and an installation that will invite the public to participate in the creation of their own stories.

Internationally renown authors including Mu-San Baek (South Korea), Mateo Belli (Italy), Viola di Grado (Italy), Lita Donoso (Chile), Carlos Fuentes (México), Eduardo Galeano (Uruguay), Néstor García Canclini (Argentina/México), David Grossman (Israel), Stephen Holmes (U.S.A), Sandra Cisneros (U.S.A), and Norman Manea (Rumania/U.S.A) amongst others, will also be attending the fair to sign books and discuss different aspects of writing and publishing with the public. Debates and conferences will also be taking place throughout the duration of the fair. The full program is available here.

Feria Internacional del Libro de Buenos Aires

La Rural: Santa Fe 4201, Palermo

Opening hours:

April 16th– Inauguration- 6pm-10pm

Sun-Thus- 2pm-10pm- Tickets: 20 pesos

Fri-Sat and National holidays- 2pm-11pm- Tickets: 26 pesos.

Jorge Luis Borges

(Photo meetaires)

Jorge Luis Borges was one of Argentina’s most prolific authors. His writing is centered on themes such as time, infinity, mirrors, mythology, identity, the labyrinth and the city amongst others.

His bilingual background, the origins of his family and his time spent living in Europe and then returning to his native Buenos Aires reflect in his writing where there is a confluence of European influences and the native imagery and characters. This combination perfectly expresses the local social and cultural construct whilst his metaphysical influences draw you into a dreamlike abstract tour of the city he both knew and imagined.

 

For more on Borges you can visit the Centro Cultural Borges where a new permanent exhibit was inaugurated commemorating the 25th anniversary of his death. Included in the display are some of his drawings, his books and creative process, a map of the places in Buenos Aires which influenced him, photographs, and other elements of the Borgean imagery.

To get some of his books in English, head to the Kel bookstore in Recoleta.

 

Centro Cultural Borges

Viamonte 525, downtown

5555 5358

 

KEL

Marcelo T. de Alvear 1369

4814-3788