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. 

When it´s Grey in Buenos Aires

(Photo by Andres_314)

Grey weather and rain are forecasted for the days to come.  Thankfully, the city is full of indoor activities and places to discover.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid: Reading a good book has got to be one of the top rainy day activities around the globe, and the Ateneo Grand Splendid is just the place to do it. This impressive bookstore, set in what was once the Grand Splendid Theatre, is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world and conserves the balconies, the original velvet curtains, and the cupola, on which an allegoric representation of peace was painted after world war one. A great place for book browsing, sightseeing, reading and coffee drinking all in one.

Teatro Colón Tour: This impressive opera house is internationally known for its architectural beauty and its wonderful acoustics. The stately theatre can be toured every day from 9am-5.30pm and tours last approximately 1 hour. You can also go to experience an opera, a ballet, or a concert.

Buenos Aires Traditional Cafés: Another great option for BA rainy days is to seek refuge in one of the many traditional cafes to read, write, chat over coffee, or why not play some pool or a game of chess.  It is also a good chance to snack on some of the typical local comfort foods: medialunas de grasa o de manteca (2 different types of croissants made either from lard or butter), tostados de jamón y queso (very thin grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with a special bread-Argentina style), Submarinos (A glass of hot milk with a chocolate bar to melt in it), churros, alfajores, and licuados de banana (banana-milk smoothies).

5 O clock Tea: Along the lines of the traditional cafe is the casa de té, a place to go for a special 5 o clock tea where a larger variety of sweet cakes and sandwiches are served on silver platters.

Art Museums: One of the classic rainy day attractions in the city are the art museums, and Buenos Aires has plenty of those! From classic art, to decorative art, to Latin American art, to Modern Art, you’re sure to find one that suits your tastes.

Classic and Indy films: Buenos Aires has a lot of cinematographic activity and there are many places that screen classic movies, auteur and foreign films, independent features and more. The best places to go if you’re looking for something different are the MALBA, the San Martin theatre, which screens retrospectives of different directors, and cultural centers such as Centro Cultural Rojas (currently screening Cuban independent films) and Centro Cultural Konex.

For nightlife,  head to one of the city’s tango or jazz venues, two rainy day classics. Otherwise stop by AcaBar in Palermo where you can have some great drinks and play board games in a cozy setting.