The best Argentina books

3 authors have picked their favorite books about Argentina and why they recommend each book.

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Things We Lost in the Fire

By Mariana Enriquez,

Book cover of Things We Lost in the Fire: Stories

Another contemporary book of Latin American magical realism, this one is perhaps subtlest in its surrealism and has most in common with the American Gothic tradition of Edgar Allan Poe. Things We Lost in the Fire reveals to us an Argentina filled with ghosts and haunted houses and satanic rituals while simultaneously bringing the country as it is today to vivid, powerful life. 


Who am I?

Daniel Loedel is a book editor based in Brooklyn. His first novel, Hades, Argentina, was inspired by his half-sister, who was disappeared in Argentina in 1978 by the military dictatorship. It won the Prix du Premier Roman, was a finalist for the Prix Femina, and was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and VCU Cabell First Novel Award. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, LitHub, Poets & Writers, and other publications.


I wrote...

Hades, Argentina

By Daniel Loedel,

Book cover of Hades, Argentina

What is my book about?

In 1976, Tomás Orilla is a medical student in Buenos Aires, where he has moved in hopes of reuniting with Isabel, a childhood crush. The reckless passion that has long drawn him is leading Isabel ever deeper into the ranks of the insurgency fighting an increasingly oppressive regime. Tomás has always been willing to do anything to prove himself. Yet what exactly is he proving, and at what cost to them both?

It will be years before Tomás is summoned back, now living as Thomas Shore in New York. It isn’t a homecoming that awaits him so much as an odyssey into the past, an encounter with the ghosts that lurk there, and a reckoning with the fatal gap between who he has become and who he once aspired to be.

Like Flies from Afar

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

Book cover of Like Flies from Afar

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.


Who am I?

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.


I wrote...

Buenos Aires Triad

By F.E. Beyer,

Book cover of Buenos Aires Triad

What is my book about?

A searing portrait of small-time crooks and immigrant gangs. When an armed robber shoots a British tourist in Buenos Aires, Lucas's life changes forever. A humble watch-seller moonlighting for the gang behind the robbery, Lucas picked the British woman as a target. He wants out of the gang but instead becomes more entangled and joins gang leader Gustavo in extortion work for the triads. In the Argentina of this well-researched noir, an enterprising type can store their loot with crooked nuns, or bet it on scorpion fights at illegal casinos.

Mafalda

By Isabella Cosse,

Book cover of Mafalda: A Social and Political History of Latin America's Global Comic

There is no U.S. equivalent to the comic strip “Mafalda,” a strip centered around a young, middle-class girl and her entourage of neighborhood friends set in mid-1960s Buenos Aires. The strip itself only lasted a decade but its afterlives continue to reverberate across Latin America and throughout other parts of the world. Today, the face of Mafalda—the strip’s namesake—can be found with a speech bubble protesting any number of injustices. It is probably no exaggeration to say that this is the most important comic strip ever written, and one whose appeal lies both in its simplicity and the subtle depth of its political humor. Published here in translation, Cosse, a noted scholar of cultural and social history, has written a biography of the strip and its characters as a way not only of understanding the crisis of Argentina’s middle classes, but the ways in which the mass media transform objects…


Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by the political aesthetics and political ferment of the 1960s. As someone born in the 1960s but not of the 1960’s generation, this has allowed for a certain “critical distance” in the ways I approach this period. I'm especially fascinated by the global circulation of cultural protest forms from the 1960s, what the historian Jeremy Suri called a “language of dissent.” The term Global Sixties is now used to explore this evident simultaneity of “like responses across disparate contexts,” such as finding jipis in Chile. In our book, The Walls of Santiago, we locate various examples of what we term the “afterlives” of Global Sixties protest signage. 


I wrote...

The Walls of Santiago: Social Revolution and Political Aesthetics in Contemporary Chile

By Eric Zolov, Terri Gordon-Zolov,

Book cover of The Walls of Santiago: Social Revolution and Political Aesthetics in Contemporary Chile

What is my book about?

From October 2019 until the COVID-19 lockdown in March 2020, Chile was convulsed by protests and political upheaval, as what began as civil disobedience against a metro fare hike transformed into a vast resistance movement. Throughout, the most striking aspects of the protests were the posters, graffiti, and other political graphics that became ubiquitous in Chilean cities. I was in Chile with my family on a Fulbright Fellowship when the estallido social erupted. Our book offers an entryway for understanding this dramatic set of events but also the layered meanings behind the array of political graphics which defined this social revolution, a revolution whose impact continues to reverberate across Chile and Latin America.

Furia

By Yamile Saied Méndez,

Book cover of Furia

I adored this book. After I turned the final page, I sat in silence, sinking into all the feels. Set in Argentina, Furia is the story of Camila, a fierce soccer—or fútbol—player who is one of the best in her sport. However, she’s forced to keep her love of fútbol a secret because she’s living under the strict supervision of her father, who doesn’t believe girls should play sports. That story alone would be enough to make Furia one of my all-time favorite books, but it’s also got an incredible swoony love story. You don’t want to miss this one. 


Who am I?

I adore books about sporty badass girls. Yet, when I first began to write Dangerous Play, there were few young-adult novels featuring fierce sporty girls. Of those, there were fewer which portrayed the powerful friendships that can emerge on girls’ sports teams. I want to read and write about girls who are defined by more than their love interests, who are dogged in the pursuit of their goals. In a world that so often judges girls by how their bodies look, sports offers an arena in which girls can view and value their bodies in an alternative way. And who doesn’t love to cheer for someone who beats the odds? 


I wrote...

Dangerous Play

By Emma Kress,

Book cover of Dangerous Play

What is my book about?

Zoe Alamandar has one goal: win the State Field Hockey Championships and earn a scholarship that will get her the hell out of Central New York. She and her co-captain Ava Cervantes have assembled a fierce team of dedicated girls who will work hard and play by the rules.

But after Zoe is sexually assaulted at a party, she finds a new goal: make sure no girl feels unsafe again. Zoe and her teammates decide to stop playing by the rules and take justice into their own hands. Soon, their suburban town has a team of superheroes meting out punishments, but one night of vigilantism may cost Zoe her team, the championship, her scholarship, and her future.

The Vineyard at the End of the World

By Ian Mount,

Book cover of The Vineyard at the End of the World: Maverick Winemakers and the Rebirth of Malbec

Today Argentina along with her malbec wines are held in high regard. It wasn’t always this way. This is a pacey rich journey through four centuries telling how ‘wine is not just a drink, it’s a story’. Full of characters, anecdotes, wine, business…Argentine style…like the hospital stay where a doctor’s recommendation is the best bottle of wine on the hospital’s café menu.

Who am I?

I became intensely interested in wine while working in a Michelin Star kitchen where understanding how flavours work together, developing nuances in my palate, and an interesting wine list combine. Enthusiasm and passion led to success in wine examinations at the highest levels, working in wine retail, travelling the globe visiting amazing vineyards, and wineries, meeting iconic winemakers, influential vineyards managers, as well as other luminaries in the world of wine. The greatest benefit being many new friends and lifelong special memories. Along with the wine tastings I give, The Periodic Table of Wine is a way to share discovering wine and the joy it brings to new audiences.


I wrote...

The Periodic Table of Wine

By Sarah Rowlands,

Book cover of The Periodic Table of Wine

What is my book about?

The Periodic Table of Wine is sold globally to wine drinkers looking for adventure as well as beginner sommeliers starting out on their careers. Designed as a fun and quick way to give wine lovers more confidence in picking different wines they enjoy without being intimidated? The easy-to-use table, in an accessible pictorial format, shows how different wines relate, guiding you to new wines to discover and love.

Twenty Years a Stranger (The Stranger Series)

By Deborah Twelves,

Book cover of Twenty Years a Stranger (The Stranger Series)

Deborah Twelves shares the same publisher as me and was very welcoming towards me when I joined Fortis. I found this an interesting book because like my own story, people in Deborah's life were misleading to her, as they lived a double life and in places, I found myself relating to what she had gone through.  

The book is beautifully written from the heart and it's hard to imagine the shock and devastation Deborah must have felt after finding out her husband had been living multiple double lives with other women and had even fathered children with them. It just goes to show you never really know someone. 

I found Twenty Years a Stranger a very gritty read with lots of twists and turns, as the truth is uncovered. A fantastic book written by a beautiful soul.


Who am I?

I'm a 24-year-old, 1st time Author with big plans to call for major changes within our current social system, to bring the taboo subject of child abuse, to conversation. My own story, yes is an extreme case, but isn’t an uncommon occurrence and affects many. My book, The Girl In The Pink Shoes, was written not only for my own self-help but to also help many others to know they are not alone and someone is fighting their corner. I hope my book will open the right doors to raise awareness and make my charity, Your Voice UK, a success and help bring a brighter future to children who have suffered abuse.


I wrote...

The Girl in the Pink Shoes

By Jessie Harrington,

Book cover of The Girl in the Pink Shoes

What is my book about?

The Girl in the Pink Shoes follows the terrifying true story of my horrific childhood. I was subjected to seven years of the most shocking sexual abuse imaginable. My mother, who already had an abusive and destructive personality when she drank, would often beat my siblings and me. Things suddenly took a turn for the worst when she developed a new relationship with a man who was known to the police and registered as a convicted paedophile.

The grooming process quickly gathered pace, my ordeal escalated, and nowhere was safe! Drugged, beaten and abused at home, bullied at school led to suicide attempts. Eventually my stepfather placed me in a paedophile ring. My own mother knew what was happening to me and her violent rages towards me grew worse.

Patients of the State

By Javier Auyero,

Book cover of Patients of the State: The Politics of Waiting in Argentina

What does remain of the old welfare institutions of the mid-twentieth century? How has neoliberalism cut social infrastructure? Javier Auyero looks at welfare and public services in present-day Argentina, a system that, despite the crisis, continues to offer some form of protection to impoverished working families. The book is fascinating and demonstrates how “waiting” has come to define how poor people relate to the state and access rights and benefits.

Who am I?

I’m a historian of Latin America and a professor at California State University, Los Angeles. I write about Chile’s labor and social history in the twentieth century. As a historian, I am especially interested in understanding how working people relate with public institutions and authorities, what they expect from the state, and how they have organized and expanded social and economic rights. While my research centers in Chile and Latin America, I also look to place regional debates in a transnational framework and see how ideas and people have moved across borders. I like books that bring working people’s diverse voices and experiences. 


I wrote...

Fighting Unemployment in Twentieth-Century Chile

By Ángela Vergara,

Book cover of Fighting Unemployment in Twentieth-Century Chile

What is my book about?

In Fighting Unemployment in Twentieth-Century Chile, Ángela Vergara narrates the story of how industrial and mine workers, peasants and day laborers, as well as blue-collar and white-collar employees earned a living through periods of economic, political, and social instability in twentieth-century Chile. The Great Depression transformed how Chileans viewed work and welfare rights and how they related to public institutions. Influenced by global and regional debates, the state put modern agencies in place to count and assist the poor and expand their social and economic rights.

Fighting Unemployment in Twentieth-Century Chile contributes to understanding the profound inequality that permeates Chilean history through a detailed analysis of the relationship between welfare professionals and the unemployed, the interpretation of labor laws, and employers’ everyday attitudes.

Sam's Folly

By Carmen Desousa,

Book cover of Sam's Folly

This story has a great combination of romance and suspense and action. You gotta love Sam, who's just trying to keep his family's rescue organization going and has such strong loyalty toward his family. And Nora's courageous and feisty, just trying to survive from a dangerous situation. Carmen’s books are low on the explicit and violence/gore scale, which is perfect when you want to go on a ride without all of the extraneous cursing and whatnot. 


Who am I?

I love the combination of action and romance and suspense. It’s a real juggle as an author to balance the two main elements (suspense and romance mostly), give each depth and page time, and make us care about the people both in love and in peril. I’ve always been drawn to suspense, even as a kid. But I gotta have the relationships, too. I used to direct plays with my childhood friends, and there were always bad guys and the romance—and this was long before I was thinking of having a real romance!


I wrote...

Wild Lies (Justiss Alliance)

By Tina Wainscott,

Book cover of Wild Lies (Justiss Alliance)

What is my book about?

Rathmusen Blackwood, aka Rath, rode off on his Harley after a SEAL team mission went deadly wrong and the media dubbed his unit “Rogue Six.” He needs to find the truth and avenge his comrades...and himself. The mole who fed the U.S. lethally false information is hiding in cartel territory in Mexico, so Rath breaks into the secluded house where intel says Dan is staying.

Instead, he finds Dan’s beautiful daughter, Neesa, who’s risking her life to find her father. Rath looks more like a narco than he does an agent, but he proves himself capable when she’s attacked. They follow Dan’s trail, and as their secrets come to light they are drawn deeper into mystery, danger, and a love neither could have imagined…

For Men Only

By Shaunti Feldhahn, Jeff Feldhahn,

Book cover of For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women

This book is research-driven. But that doesn't mean it’s dry and dusty. Just the opposite! You can expect to pick up at least a dozen practical bits of advice or information you will use in your marriage and will even come in handy in any situation when you are interacting with the women. You’ll enjoy the conversational down-to-earth style, and walk away with real-life revelations that really will help you better understand women, and your wife in particular. You’ll find yourself in the doghouse less frequently and for a shorter duration. And she’ll snuggle up to you more often seemingly for no reason at all.


Who am I?

After a decade writing advertising for airlines and beer, I found myself working as a freelance radio producer for thousands of radio broadcasts for Chuck Colson, Josh McDowell, Fathers.com, Heritage Foundation, and Voice of the Martyrs. Later, I reinvented myself as a national speaker and best-selling author of 25+ books including 52 Things Kids Need from a Dad, Don’t Take the Bait to Escalate, and What If God Wrote Your Bucket List? with sales approaching one million copies. My wife Rita and I live near Chicago, where we raised five awesome kids, loved on ten foster babies, and are cherishing grandparenthood.


I wrote...

52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands: What Husbands Can Do to Build a Stronger Marriage

By Jay Payleitner,

Book cover of 52 Things Wives Need from Their Husbands: What Husbands Can Do to Build a Stronger Marriage

What is my book about?

Hey guys. Remember that girl you married? Remember how she caught your eye? The girl you couldn’t keep your hands off. The girl that taught you to love in brand new ways. Romantic love. Committed love. Crazy love. Eternal love. Where did that girl go?

She’s right there. Sharing your life. Sharing your bed. And she’s asking the same question. “Where did that boy go?” Husbands, your wife needs you to choose her all over again. To be the knight in shining armor. The leader. The listener. The lover. I promise no chapter will make you feel guilty or criticize men for acting like men! Want less nagging and more sex? You are now officially on the right track.

The Penguin Lessons

By Tom Michell,

Book cover of The Penguin Lessons: What I Learned from a Remarkable Bird

For lighter penguin reading, The Penguin Lessons is a charming true story, told by a man who rescued an oiled Magellanic penguin from a beach in Uruguay. After cleaning the penguin and attempting to release it, the bird stubbornly refused to return to the sea - and the author found himself with an unusual new roommate, leading to many entertaining adventures. I’m sure I’m biased due to my experience rehabilitating oiled penguins, but I found this to be a very engaging and heartwarming story. (Side note: one should never attempt to rehabilitate or keep a penguin - or other wild animals. Always call a wildlife professional. At the time of this event 47 years ago, there wasn’t a rescue center for the author to bring this bird to.) 


Who am I?

I’m a penguin expert, TED speaker, and life-long animal lover. I was a Senior Penguin Aquarist at Boston’s New England Aquarium, where I worked for 9 years. In 2000, I helped manage the rescue of 40,000 penguins from the Treasure oil spill in South Africa. I founded my educational company The Penguin Lady in 2005, and give presentations at schools, universities, libraries, conferences (including the International Penguin Conference), and on National Geographic’s ships in Antarctica. I’ve given 4 TEDx talks, wrote and narrated a TED-Ed video about penguin conservation, and am a frequent guest expert on radio, podcasts, and TV in the US and abroad whenever penguins hit the news.


I wrote...

The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World's Largest Animal Rescue

By Dyan deNapoli,

Book cover of The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World's Largest Animal Rescue

What is my book about?

The Great Penguin Rescue is the gripping and unforgettable true story of the world’s largest and most successful animal rescue. When an oil spill threatened to kill tens of thousands of African penguins near Cape Town, 110 penguin experts (including the author) flew to South Africa to help manage the care of the oiled birds. With the help of 12,500 dedicated - yet completely inexperienced - volunteers, 95% of the 40,000 affected penguins were saved. Hailed as “a real-life eco-thriller with a happy ending” and “a powerful story that needs to be told”, this award-winning book is a moving testament to what can be achieved when we come together and work as one. 

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