Viudas de los jueves, las Tapa blanda – 30 jul 2010
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En Altos de la Cascada viven familias que llevan un mismo estilo de vida y que quieren mantenerlo cueste lo que cueste. Alli, un grupo de amigos se reune semanalmente lejos de las miradas de sus hijos, sus empleadas domesticas y sus esposas, quienes excluidas del encuentro varonil, se autodenominan, bromeando, -las viudas de los jueves-. Pero una noche la rutina se quiebra y ese hecho permite descubrir, en un pais que se desmorona, el lado oscuro de una vida perfecta. ENGLISH DESCRIPTION A group of friends who wish to maintain their lifestyle at any cost gathers on a weekly basis far from the fleeting looks of their spouses, who, excluded from the manly encounters, jokingly call themselves, Thursdays Widows. But one night the routine is broken and we are able to see, in a country that crumbles, the dark side of a perfect life. An agile novel, written in a perfectly suitable language for the subject matter, an implacable analysis of a social microcosm in an accelerated process of decay. Jose Saramago."
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Claudia Piñeiro's book, As viúvas das quintas-feiras, portrays such a community on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Like its American counterpart, those who live in Altos de la Cascada believe they not only breathe a purer air than everyone else in the world, but they deserve to have that kind of luxury. Indeed they go to that golf course community much for the same reasons an American from Detroit would want to go to such a development in Raleigh: a need not to mix with the "dangerous" crowds in the city, with the poor, the needy, the inner city social outcasts.
But when hard times come, these are the people least capable to deal with change. They are the least able to keep their dignity and pride unhurt, for they have lived such protected lives, believing their world was exempt from anything wrong, anything bad, anything devious. In this book, not even the country's economic crisis was able to guide those living in the gated community to accept a different kind of living. And those who did were frequently laughed at, criticized behind their backs. Set at the turn of the 21st c. in Argentina, when the country entered in financial chaos, the inhabitants of Altos de la Cascada prefer to ignore and run away from the problems than to deal with the realities of bankruptcy and loss of jobs.
The novel has a good, fast pace for its first two thirds, losing some of its magic in the last chapters, but it does have an unexpected ending. This revived my interest in the narration. Not only the women--the Thursday's widows, as they are know--are portrayed. Their husbands, their children are just as much part of the plot and equally responsible for the novel's outcome. We are presented with subjects that are not so often talked about in light novels: anti-Semitism, anti-skin color prejudices, wife beating, and strange sexual preferences. And to increase the interest there is also a mystery to be solved.
I thought this was a good book to take along on a small vacation, a long weekend. It depicts a world we all know, and makes us wonder if indeed, this modern mania of living only with our peers, of exiling oneself from the social texture, is worth anything.
This novel received the Clarín Prize for Literature in 2005.
[*This review was based on the Brazilian edition of this book, As Viúvas das quintas-feiras, published in 2007, by Alfaguara]
This book tells the story of a group of people that live on the suburbs of Buenos Aires in a "gated community" & shows how not everything that sparkles is gold! This could be the story of anyone anywhere in the world..it just happens to be in Argentina.
The book makes a point to portrait people that are ambitious & driven & how an economical crisis affects their life & family and what they are willing to do in order not to loose face.
Excellent book. I would recommend it to everybody. It reminded me a little bit of "The revolutionary road".
This wonderful novel walks you through the life of these families from the early 90's (the economic boom of the country) to the year 2001, when everything collapsed, including their standard of living in many cases.
Not only does the author draw a magnificent picture of the lives and values of these people inside this apparent 'controlled environment' but she also brings to attention many of the ethical and moral issues of the upper class in a very subtle and intelligent way.
I'm sure you'll enjoy the story and learn a lot about the country's morale by reading this award-winning novel.
Probablemente una alegoría respecto a las experiencias de la clase media argentina, luego de la gran crisis del año 2001