May you suggest a good book or movie to help an expat friend of mine to better understand, or know something interesting about the history, politics or idiosincracy of this wonderful country? It might be written in English or Spanish.
I strongly suggest Imagining Argentina (Lawrence Thornton) - a gift and a revelation....the premise (psychic foreseeing the end of the disappeared) would honestly usually hold no appeal to me but the earnestness and sadness of the book was as gripping as it was traumatic. It honestly calls into question what fellow Argentineans (or any nation) would do to each other under orders or a cause. It`s fiction and wont help you buy a house, order breakfast or pay your taxes but understanding this country and its sufferings helps provide an empathy critical to live here on a day to day basis.
I don't agree that Bad Times in Buenos Aires is an excellent book: I re-read it a few months ago just to clarify why in my own mind. But to explain that, may I recommend Bruce Chatwin's 'In Patagonia' which, even though it is about forty years old, as someone who has spent a bit of time at that end of the country, I still feel I'd still have to go a long way to find something else that evokes the same essence of the place and people.
I don't believe that everything in 'Patagonia' is literally true and I'm sure some of it never happened at all and there has been a raging controvercy over the veracity ever since. One of Chatwins's other books mixes fact and invention much more liberally and after reading 'The Songlines' I found it much easier to see how he worked the same magic in 'Patagonia.'
France is, in my opinion, writing a book to further her own agenda and the sales and her own career have done very well out of it. But where Chatwin invents in order to let the spirit of Patagonia free, I feel that France does the same only to maintain more control of her outcomes. The watershed moment for me was the washing-up scene (sorry about the pun.) From then on I knew she was writing to meet her audience's expectations. I don't expect you to agree, of course, but in any case if you haven't yet read 'In Patagonia' please do: in my opinion it ought to be required reading for all who travel south.
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