November 2008

Argentine writers to read in Spanish (& maybe in English someday)

Wandering the bookstores in Buenos Aires, looking for good fiction by an Argentine writer but you’re already read enough of Borges, Bioy, & Cortazar? A local foundation has compiled a catalog of 30 writers. And thanks to a blog in the U.S. devoted to literary translations, you can download the excellent catalog prepared by Fundación TyPA: 30 Great Authors from Argentina.

The PDF is in English and is being used to promote Argentine writers to an international audience and, hopefully, some more Argentine writers will end up with their works translated.

Fundación TyPA does have a page on their web site about the recent presentation of this catalog, but oddly no link from their site to the actual catalog. If you don’t want to download the PDF, they do provide this list.

Happy reading!

If only the anti-Chavez forces don’t kill me,

I was wakened from a dream the other morning….Ceci and I were visiting a small gathering spot, some type of bar or cafe that our friend Nestor had recommended…..leave it to him to find such a place… Everything was cool…at one point, we learned that it was a popular hangout for Hugo Chavez….were we back in Venezuela?…I went outside for a moment and then saw a tank and another car pull up. I thought, “Surely they wouldn’t attack a place with so many civilians.” The driver of the car put down his peanut butter sandwich (in Venezuela?) and picked up the mic of a radio. I dashed through the doorway as shots were fired into the back of the building. Everyone inside scattered for cover. I saw Ceci run from the couch and hide in a trash can. I ran to her, but didn’t fit inside the can. My hiding spot was a silver metal cabinet sitting nearby. I squeezed inside, fearing for my life. Everything became quiet except for a song, Nick Cave singing, “I don’t need no crappy, long, complex novel about London.

I thought to myself, in that defining moment of dream life “If only I make it through this, I can finish my novel and it doesn’t need to be crappy, long, or complex.”

Ceci then woke me up.

a story

My short story, “Forever Unaware”, was recently published in Paradigm.

Update (2014): the links are no longer active.

In Buenos Aires with Lovecock

I enjoy reading travelogues about places all around the world, though there is a certain sameness to them all after a while. With Argentina’s bicentennial approaching in 2010, I decided to reach back and examine an Englishman’s account of living in Buenos Aires from the early 1800s: A Five Years’ Residence in Buenos Ayres: during the years 1820 to 1825. If you want to read along, you can find the PDF over at Google Books.

The author is supposedly a guy named George Thomas Love. However, this authorship is disputed by an Argentine historian: Alejo B. González Garaño, who translated the book into Spanish. (If I’m not mistaken, González Garaño also was once the director of the Museo Histórico Nacional). From the bibliographic records it looks like González Garaño wrote a prologue to the Spanish edition. That sounds interesting. I should find a copy, there are several floating around the city, and see what he had to say. However, he attributes the author of this work not to Love but to John Luccock, an Englishman who wrote several travel accounts in South America.

So, was the author Love or Luccock? I don’t know but in the spirit of blogging and contemporary travelogues on the Internet, I will simply refer to this mysterious man as Mr. Lovecock.

Mr. Lovecock’s impression of Buenos Aires… from page 156:

A person will not be long in Buenos Ayres without picking up acquaintances with its inhabitants; amongst whom are some very intelligent young men. I have sometimes thought it would give me pleasure to conduct one of them to England, to be – not exactly a Mentor (needing that myself), but a sort of escort to him in the modern Babylon, London.

Ah, throughout the city’s history all good foreigners have picked up sexy Argentines. More of Mr. Lovecock’s adventures in early Buenos Aires in subsequent postings….

A house on Peru

For a couple of years I’ve been intending to take a photo of this house on Peru street, just around the corner from where I live. Just wished I had taken the photo before they threw up the For Rent sign. Those signs never come down…..oh, if you want to know, the rent: us$4,000.

As part of the recent restoration, the doors got a nice retouching.

It’s best when the morning sun hits the top of the building.

A little detail….

Notable buildings that are no longer

While browsing around a bookstore in San Telmo today I found a volume of photographs that fits perfectly with my City that Fades Away series: Arquitecturas ausentes: obras notables demolidas en la ciudad de buenos aires/Absent Architecture: Notable Works Demolished in the City of Buenos Aires.

As one can expect, there’s quite a lot of Buenos Aires that is no longer with us. This book of over 100 black-and-white photographs was produced by Marcelo Kohan and the Centro de Documentación de Arquitectura Latinoamericana (CEDODAL) here in Buenos Aires.

The cover image depicts the original Teatro Colón, then located just off of Plaza de Mayo.

Each photo in the book includes the address and a short description of the building. There are some really remarkable works, including many images I’ve never seen before. For any fan of Buenos Aires architecture, this is one for your collection.

Here’s a sample photo of Teatro Variedades that was located – where? – surprisingly, in front of Plaza de Constitución.

That’s nice, isn’t it?

Pick up a copy of the book to see the rest.