Ceci just finished reading the book Las viudas de los jueves by Claudia Piñeiro and highly recommends it. It’s only available in Spanish and can be widely found in the bookstores of Buenos Aires. For those in North America, I see that there’s also a listing for Las viudas de los jueves in Amazon

Las viudas de los jueves won the Premio Clarín de Novela last year by a prize jury that included one of my favorite novelists, José Saramago. The book was selected from a competition that included over 1,300 works, just to give you an idea of the range of books being published. Unfortunately, few of those will ever make it into an English translation, more on that in another posting.

Las viudas de los jueves
is about a group of families who live in Altos de la Cascada, a fictional gated community in the upper middle-class suburbs of Buenos Aires. Set in the late 1990s the novel portrays that life among those seemingly happy families isn’t so perfect. The novel culminates in a tragic episode that coincides with the rising economic crisis in Argentina and September 11.

Paging through the novel I am reminded about the way that the word country club is used around Buenos Aires. Altos de la Cascada is called a Country Club, in English. It is actually a gated community and not quite a country club as that term is known in the U.S., though the two have many similarities. I’ve never been fond of either country clubs or gated communities, so I can’t speak authoritatively on the difference except that members of country clubs don’t usually live at the country club and that gated communities may or may not have golf courses, etc. Both may be exclusive social entities.

From reading the real estate section of La Nación on the weekends, it seems that gated communities/country clubs are quite popular among a certain segment of porteños. There was an intersting article a few months ago in Perfil about how Jews are denied membership into many (most? all?) of those communities. Evidently, it only takes one family in a community to veto the application of a new resident.

Anyway, if you want to read a good book about middle-class life in Buenos Aires before the economic crisis then Las viudas de los jueves is recommended.