Travels in Translation: Buenos Aires

May 28, 2013

“Think of Argentina and it quickly becomes apparent why the country holds travelers in awe. Tango, gauchos, fútbol, Patagonia, the Andes—the classics alone make a formidable wanderlust cocktail.” – Sandra Bao, Lonely Planet

Patagonia and the papacy might be the two most prominent connections to Argentina’s capital city these days, but with every modern metropolis, especially in Latin America, centuries of history and culture constitute the locale’s solid foundation—or perhaps its crumbling cobblestone courtyards—and create a stunning intersection between old and new. Here are three recent translations to take you to this South American city.

The Planets           

1. The Planets by Sergio Chejfec (2012), tr. Heather Cleary

Reading about a celestial explosion sparks Sergio Chejfec’s protagonist to recall the disappearance of a childhood friend during a boom of political violence in 1970s Buenos Aires and revisit the memories of their friendship.


Friends of Mine

2. Friends of Mine by Ángela Pradelli (2012), tr. Andrea G. Labinger

The narratives of four Buenos Aires women interweave to provide a strong thread of friendship that lengthens from their childhood to middle age.


The Buenos Aires Quintet 

3. The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán (2012), tr. Nick Caistor

The historical disappearance of thirty thousand people during Argentina’s “Dirty War” prompts the fictional representation of Pepe Carvalho’s investigation into the mysterious phenomenon. 

Molly Evans is a WLT intern.