Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday Brunch

Food: Quaker oatmeal that I actually cooked over the stove with a little warm milk, some fresh blueberries, and good old Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Book at table: At the King's Command, the recently re-published first book in "The Tudor Rose Trilogy" by Susan Wiggs. And yes, I do read romance novels at breakfast on occasion.

As Fall approaches, I'm a bit nostalgic because it has now been a full year since I returned from my stay in Argentina. I spent last summer living and working in Buenos Aires and I loved every minute of it. Due to my academic and work schedule, I could not fit in a return trip this year, so I browsed for Argentina-related books on my last book shopping excursion.

There are plenty of contemporary and otherwise notable books from and about Argentina:

  • Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges. A collection of short stories that is almost without-genre, it is so groundbreaking in its style. I read this before I left for Buenos Aires and was so glad I did. The English translation is quite well-done, too. If I had to classify it, I suppose I might call it surrealist-modern-fantastical-existentialism.
  • El tunel by Ernesto Sabato. A man contemplates every sort of scenario that might happen, were he to speak to the woman he believes he has fallen in love with. Again, it's very modern, trippy, and fantastic. I was recommended this book while I was abroad and read it quite quickly. It's difficult to find in English.
There does not seem, however, to be a lot of historical fiction that takes place in Argentina. Before my trip, I read Lawrence Thornton's Imagining Argentina, and reeeeally did not like it. The novel is about a man with a psychic ability to "see" the victims of La Guerra Sucia and enable their family members to find the survivors. However, he has a long and difficult road ahead of him in trying to find his own kidnapped wife. The "Dirty War" as we know it in English is a devastatingly sad story on its own, and this novel features quite a few disturbing torture scenes that finally caused me to put it down without finishing it. I know the book has gotten good reviews, but I found the writing to be wooden and some of the factual details to seem skewed.

Other than Thornton's series, however, I could hardly find anything historical fiction-wise regarding Argentina, and I wish there was a lot more.

What historical time period or location seems like it needs further historical fiction writing? What is an "obscure" time period or location that you have read about recently and enjoyed?

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