100 books like The Tunnel

By Ernesto Sabato, Margaret Sayers Peden (translator),

Here are 100 books that The Tunnel fans have personally recommended if you like The Tunnel. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Like Flies from Afar

F.E. Beyer Author Of Buenos Aires Triad

From my list on crime novels set in Argentina.

Why am I passionate about this?

At twenty-six I was living in Wuhan. I had been in China for a couple of years and was looking for a change. Not ready to go back home to New Zealand, I made my way across Europe, through the USA, and on to Argentina. Since that visit, I’ve followed Argentina's economic crises and scoured its newspapers for quirky crime stories. I started to send out true crime articles to various magazines. Eventually, I had enough material to write a novel. For years I’ve wanted to find a literary yet straightforward crime novel set in Argentina. The search goes on, but below are the best I’ve come across so far.

F.E.'s book list on crime novels set in Argentina

F.E. Beyer Why did F.E. love this book?

This is a concise noir with clear and simple prose. There is no metafiction, magical realism, or non-linear narrative to contend with. The protagonist, Mr. Machi, is a terrible person, almost psychopathic, a symbol of everything that is wrong in Argentina. The book is a critique of unbridled capitalism and its status symbols. To kick things off, Machi finds a dead body inside the boot of his beloved BMW and from there the action and the hilarity don’t stop. Told from the point of view of Machi, we have an uncomplicated antihero, a person completely without redeeming features. According to legend, the author still works as a subway station cleaner.

By K. Ferrari, Adrian Nathan West (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Like Flies from Afar as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This novel should come not with blurbs but with a hazardous-material warning: There's bone and gristle here, be ready for that taste in your mouth you can't spit out. First words to last, it's strong stuff." —James Sallis, author of Drive

The first novel to appear in English by the "subway janitor by night, novelist by day," who began his writing career while an undocumented immigrant in the United States, Like Flies from Afar will demonstrate why K. Ferrari is already an award-winning star of international crime fiction. A hardboiled noir thriller, a whodunit, a black comedy, and a filthy…


Book cover of Money to Burn

F.E. Beyer Author Of Buenos Aires Triad

From my list on crime novels set in Argentina.

Why am I passionate about this?

At twenty-six I was living in Wuhan. I had been in China for a couple of years and was looking for a change. Not ready to go back home to New Zealand, I made my way across Europe, through the USA, and on to Argentina. Since that visit, I’ve followed Argentina's economic crises and scoured its newspapers for quirky crime stories. I started to send out true crime articles to various magazines. Eventually, I had enough material to write a novel. For years I’ve wanted to find a literary yet straightforward crime novel set in Argentina. The search goes on, but below are the best I’ve come across so far.

F.E.'s book list on crime novels set in Argentina

F.E. Beyer Why did F.E. love this book?

More about hiding out and the lead-up to the final shoot-out than the bank robbery at the start, this novel is based on a real case from the 1960s. After they rob a bank in the Province of Buenos Aires, Dorda and Brigone, escape with the money over the Rio de la Plata. They find a bolthole in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, a country much like Argentina culturally and historically, but with fewer hysterical tendencies. Not happy about this are the politicians and police officers involved in the robbery and anxious for their cut of the loot. Piglia does a good job of recreating Argentina in the 1960s. Despite some stylistic pretensions and his overwriting of the main characters, the author manages not to get in the way of the story.

By Ricardo Piglia, Amanda Hopkinson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Money to Burn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on original reports and witness statements, Money to Burn tells the story of a gang of bandits who, fancying themselves as urban guerillas, raided a bank in downtown Buenos Aires. They escaped with millions of dollars in cash but six weeks later found their hideout surrounded by three hundred military police, journalists and TV cameras. The subsequent siege and its shocking outcome have become a Latin American legend.


Book cover of The Honorary Consul

F.E. Beyer Author Of Buenos Aires Triad

From my list on crime novels set in Argentina.

Why am I passionate about this?

At twenty-six I was living in Wuhan. I had been in China for a couple of years and was looking for a change. Not ready to go back home to New Zealand, I made my way across Europe, through the USA, and on to Argentina. Since that visit, I’ve followed Argentina's economic crises and scoured its newspapers for quirky crime stories. I started to send out true crime articles to various magazines. Eventually, I had enough material to write a novel. For years I’ve wanted to find a literary yet straightforward crime novel set in Argentina. The search goes on, but below are the best I’ve come across so far.

F.E.'s book list on crime novels set in Argentina

F.E. Beyer Why did F.E. love this book?

An atheist doctor, a former priest with wavering faith, and a whiskey-sodden British consul in sweltering Northeastern Argentina. The Honorary Consul has all the elements of a classic Greene novel. The author in his autobiography ‘Ways of Escape’ said it was his favourite work. Over the river from the small town of Corrientes is Paraguay and the American backed dictator, General Stroessner. In a muddle up Charlie Fortnam gets kidnapped by Paraguayan rebels hoping for an exchange of prisoners; the American Ambassador was the real target. The British government isn’t eager to get involved, Charlie is a sixty-year-old ‘honorary’ consul and alcoholic. Worse still he has recently married Clara, a young prostitute – not a becoming image at all. 

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Honorary Consul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the alcoholic British 'Honorary Consul' in an Argentinian town is kidnapped by a band of revolutionaries, a local doctor negotiates with his captors and with the authorities for the man's release, but the corruption of both soon comes to the fore. From the author of OUR MAN IN HAVANA and THE HUMAN FACTOR.


Book cover of Death Going Down

F.E. Beyer Author Of Buenos Aires Triad

From my list on crime novels set in Argentina.

Why am I passionate about this?

At twenty-six I was living in Wuhan. I had been in China for a couple of years and was looking for a change. Not ready to go back home to New Zealand, I made my way across Europe, through the USA, and on to Argentina. Since that visit, I’ve followed Argentina's economic crises and scoured its newspapers for quirky crime stories. I started to send out true crime articles to various magazines. Eventually, I had enough material to write a novel. For years I’ve wanted to find a literary yet straightforward crime novel set in Argentina. The search goes on, but below are the best I’ve come across so far.

F.E.'s book list on crime novels set in Argentina

F.E. Beyer Why did F.E. love this book?

An Agatha Christie-style mystery set in Buenos Aires. At two in the morning, Pancho Soler returns drunk to his apartment building on Santa Fe Avenue. He presses the button for the lift, and it arrives with a surprise inside: a beautiful blonde woman, sitting upright, but dead. Many of the suspects who live in the building are recent immigrants from Europe and, as the novel is set in the 1950s, their memories and secrets from WW2 are still fresh. Boris, a Bulgarian chemist who worked for the Nazis, is the most entertaining of the lot. There are the usual red herrings and revelations in the search for the murderer. The young Argentinian detective is a little flat by Christie's standards, but this is a satisfying whodunnit.   

By María Angélica Bosco, Lucy Greaves (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Death Going Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Frida Eidinger is young, beautiful and lying dead in the lift of a luxury Buenos Aires apartment block.

It looks like suicide, and yet none of the building's residents can be trusted; the man who discovered her is a womanising drunk; her husband is behaving strangely; and upstairs, a photographer and his sister appear to be hiding something sinister. When Inspector Ericourt and his colleague Blasi are set on the trail of some missing photographs, a disturbing secret past begins to unravel...

One of Argentina's greatest detective stories, Death Going Down is a postwar tale of survival and
extortion, obsession…


Book cover of Hopscotch

David Flusfeder Author Of Luck: A Personal Account of Fortune, Chance and Risk in Thirteen Investigations

From my list on luck: winning, losing, and seeing opportunity.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father, when he consented to talk about all the moments in his life when the odds against his survival were so small as to make them statistically non-existent, would say, ‘I was lucky.’ Trying to understand what he meant got me started on this book. As well as being a novelist, I’m a poker player. Luck is a subject that every poker player has a relationship to; more importantly it’s a subject that every person has a relationship to. The combination of family history and intellectual curiosity and the gambler’s desire to win drove me on this quest.

David's book list on luck: winning, losing, and seeing opportunity

David Flusfeder Why did David love this book?

Argentinians in 1950s Paris argue about art and philosophy. They fall in and out of love to a jazz soundtrack. The novel itself is in love with the modern city and the secret patterns of chance. Prefacing it is a ‘table of instructions’ in which the author writes that "this book consists of many books, but two books above all. The first can be read in a normal fashion and it ends with Chapter 56... The second should be read by beginning with Chapter 73 and then following the sequence indicated at the end of each chapter."

There’s an exhilaration of structure, a deadpan formal playfulness that still thrills. It’s the book that taught me the most about reading. And, not entirely coincidentally, it’s the book that made me realise I was going to become a writer.

By Julio Cortazar, Gregory Rabassa (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hopscotch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Cortazar's masterpiece ... The first great novel of Spanish America" (The Times Literary Supplement) • Winner of the National Book Award for Translation in 1967, translated by Gregory Rabassa

Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves "the Club." A child's death and La Maga's disappearance put an end to his life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics, and prompt Oliveira to return to Buenos Aires, where he works by turns as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat which can…


Book cover of Paradoxes of Utopia: Anarchist Culture and Politics in Buenos Aires, 1890-1910

Kirwin R. Shaffer Author Of Anarchists of the Caribbean: Countercultural Politics and Transnational Networks in the Age of US Expansion

From my list on Latin American anarchism and anti-authoritarianism.

Why am I passionate about this?

As someone who studies and writes about Latin American anarchism for a living, I’ve encountered no shortage of influential historical accounts written by scholars and activists writing in Spanish, Portuguese, and English during the past sixty years. My “best of” list includes English-language histories that reflect important shifts in how people began to study and write about anarchism beginning in the 1990s. Before then—and continuing up to today to some extent—historians often focused on the role of anarchists in a country’s labor movement. Today, historians increasingly explore both the cultural and transnational dimensions of Latin American anarchism. In these studies, authors frequently explore the roles of and attitudes toward women in anarchist politics.

Kirwin's book list on Latin American anarchism and anti-authoritarianism

Kirwin R. Shaffer Why did Kirwin love this book?

Paradoxes—a 2010 translation of his 2001 work—was an important addition to the emerging literature on anarchist cultural politics—a literature that began with a fellow Argentinian historian Dora Borrancos, who wrote Anarquismo, educación y costumbres en la Argentina de principios de siglo (1990). My book built on this emerging exploration of anarchists outside the workplace. Paradoxes explores anarchist newspapers, culture, plays, meetings, and other activities radicals used to promote anarchism while also offering entertainment and relaxation. Suriano is not myopic. He notes that in a time when other forms of entertainment like cinema emerged, workers had competing forms of commercialized amusement to pursue. This book—like other cultural histories—breathes life into old histories of anarchism that often were boring “ABC histories,” i.e., stories of one union acronym after another.

By Juan Suriano,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Paradoxes of Utopia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An engaging historical look at fin de siécle Buenos Aires that brings to life the vibrant culture behind one of the world’s largest anarchist movements: the radical schools, newspapers, theaters, and social clubs that made revolution a way of life. Cultural history in the best sense, Paradoxes of Utopia explores how a revolutionary ideology was woven into the ordinary lives of tens of thousands of people, creating a complex tapestry of symbols, rituals, and daily practices that supported—and indeed created the possibility of—the Argentine labor movement.

Juan Suriano is a professor of social history at the University of Buenos Aires.


Book cover of Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories

Giselle Leeb Author Of Mammals, I Think We Are Called

From my list on genre-bending stories to fire your imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had no expectations about what the first short stories I wrote would end up being like. Although I’d read mostly realistic literary fiction before starting to write, most of my stories included fantastical elements. This set me off reading and writing stories categorised as weird, cross-genre, slipstream, magical realist, fantastic, fabulist, horror, soft sci-fi, and surreal. The thing that struck me was how slippery these categories are. But what unites them is their openness to unbounded imagination. Like a lens concentrating a fire, their strange and fantastical techniques amplify feelings and reality in unique ways, while always paying attention to language. It’s been a thrilling, exciting ride!

Giselle's book list on genre-bending stories to fire your imagination

Giselle Leeb Why did Giselle love this book?

I lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a year in 1988, five years after the last military dictatorship ended. I remember seeing the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo holding vigils in front of the Casa Rosada presidential palace for los desaparecidos, their children who 'disappeared' during the last dictatorship. Enriquez creates strange, dense worlds of horror in these stories, with dark, unexplained, and sometimes magical undercurrents. The stories are not directly about the events, but reference them obliquely, only adding to the terror. Enriquez’s writing style blew me away, and her stories defy easy categorisation.

By Mariana Enriquez,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Things We Lost in the Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A portrait of a world in fragments, a mirrorball made of razor blades' Guardian

Sleep-deprived fathers conjuring phantoms; sharp-toothed children and stolen skulls; persecuted young women drawn to self-immolation. Organized crime sits side-by-side with the occult in Buenos Aires - a place where reality and the preternatural fuse into strange, new shapes. These stories follow the wayward and downtrodden, revealing the scars of Argentina's dictatorship and the ghosts and traumas that have settled in the minds of its people. Provocative, brutal and uncanny, Things We Lost in the Fire is a paragon of contemporary Gothic from a writer of singular…


Book cover of Far Away and Long Ago: A History of My Early Life

Conor Mark Jameson Author Of Finding W. H. Hudson: The Writer Who Came to Britain to Save the Birds

From my list on W. H. Hudson, in his own words.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am now a full-time author, and I worked for 25 years for the RSPB at Sandy and BirdLife in Cambridge. An oil painting of W. H. Hudson hangs above the fireplace of the house at Sandy – so he was a familiar face, like an ancestor about whom little is recalled and surprisingly little is ever said. I began to dabble in his books and got drawn in. I wanted to understand him and his female colleagues who created the organisation we know today and that has been such a big part of my life. I have a sense of repaying a debt.

Conor's book list on W. H. Hudson, in his own words

Conor Mark Jameson Why did Conor love this book?

In November 1915 Hudson was in the care of nurses in a Cornish convent hospital, much burdened by news from the Western Front. ‘Shall I live to see peace on earth again?’ he asked Don Roberto Cunninghame Graham in a letter.

"To me nothing is left but memories, and I’m here putting some of my boyhood’s days in a book which will have a certain interest because it gives a sort of picture of the country and people before it began to be civilised."

He was writing a memoir. A combination of Don Roberto’s missives, fevered dreams, and possibly medication sparked Hudson’s visions of his Pampas childhood. He asked his nurses for paper and pencils and began to scribble what would become his acclaimed memoir, Far Away and Long Ago. Virginia Woolf said she greeted the book "like an old friend". It remains a classic of its genre.

By W H Hudson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Far Away and Long Ago as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

”One of the twentieth century’s greatest memoirs.”
—Smithsonian Magazine

“You may try for ever to learn how Hudson got his effects and you will never know. He writes down his words as the good God makes the green grass grow.”
—Joseph Conrad

“As a writer he was a magician.”
—Ford Madox Ford

Far Away and Long Ago is a moving memoir of a vanished world, written by legendary naturalist and writer W. H. Hudson. Lyrical and poignant, Hudson’s reminiscences take us on a journey back in time to the lush and untamed landscape of his childhood in the Argentine pampas.…


Book cover of National Rhythms, African Roots: The Deep History of Latin American Popular Dance

Jeroen Dewulf Author Of From the Kingdom of Kongo to Congo Square: Kongo Dances and the Origins of the Mardi Gras Indians

From my list on Atlantic cultural history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a philologist with a passion for Atlantic cultural history. What started with a research project on the African-American Pinkster tradition and the African community in seventeenth-century Dutch Manhattan led me to New Orleans’ Congo Square and has meanwhile expanded to the African Atlantic islands, the Caribbean, and Latin America. With fluency in several foreign languages, I have tried to demonstrate in my publications that we can achieve a better understanding of Black cultural and religious identity formation in the Americas by adopting a multilingual and Atlantic perspective. 

Jeroen's book list on Atlantic cultural history

Jeroen Dewulf Why did Jeroen love this book?

In this fascinating study, Chasteen examines the historical experiences that molded Latin American popular dance from an Atlantic perspective. It delves into the “deep” history of Latin American culture and analyzes the development of dancing culture in its socio-historical context. This is not only a well-researched, but also a well written and oftentimes funny book that is broadly accessible. It is a must-read for any new scholar interested in the field of Black performance culture. Although the focus is on Latin America, Chasteen’s study reveals connections that are also of great importance to understanding the historical development of Black dance culture in North America.

By John Charles Chasteen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked National Rhythms, African Roots as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When John Charles Chasteen learned that Simon Bolivar, the Liberator, danced on a banquet table to celebrate Latin American independence in 1824, he tried to visualise the scene. How, he wondered, did the Liberator dance? Did he bounce stiffly in his dress uniform? Or did he move his hips? In other words, how high had African dance influences reached in Latin American societies? A vast social gap separated Bolivar from people of African descent; however, Chasteen's research shows that popular culture could bridge the gap. Fast-paced and often funny, this book explores the history of Latin American popular dance before…


Book cover of The Missing Year Of Juan Salvatierra

Christine Lai Author Of Landscapes

From my list on art and the ways of seeing.

Why am I passionate about this?

In Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Italo Calvino writes that “we can distinguish between two types of imaginative processes, one that begins with words and ends with the visual image, and another that begins with the visual image and ends with its verbal expression.” All of my writing projects begin with the visual image. It is difficult for me to verbalize what precisely about art that captivates me. But when I stand in front of certain artworks, I feel a magnetic pull, and something in the piece—the brushstrokes, the colors, the materiality—compels me to write something in response to it.

Christine's book list on art and the ways of seeing

Christine Lai Why did Christine love this book?

The mute Argentinian painter Juan Salvatierra spent decades painting a two-mile-long scroll of canvas that documents personal and collective history.

After his death, his sons are tasked with taking care of his legacy and preparing the gigantic artwork for exhibition. Except one part of the scroll is missing. The search for the painted fragment provides much of the plot, though the novel’s beauty lies in its evocative descriptions of the painting and the process of art-making.

The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra compels readers to reflect on the ways in which art holds up a mirror to life and the self. 

By Pedro Mairal, Nick Caistor (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Missing Year Of Juan Salvatierra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New Republic Best Books of 2013 and World Literature Today Best Books of 2013.

"A simple mystery constructed very cleverly ... an atmospheric and understated book with vivid settings and characters, a true delight to read."–10 Best Books Shorter than 150 Pages, Publishers Weekly

"Mairal's quickening prose moves from the ordinary to the opulent . . . without skipping a beat."—Jed Perl, The New Republic

"Mairal isn't your old college literature professor's idea of an Argentine novelist."—Los Angeles Times

"Affirms Pedro Mairal's stature as one of the most significant Argentine writers working today."—David Leavitt, author of The Two Hotel…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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