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Hardcover Bad Times in Buenos Aires Book

ISBN: 0880016655

ISBN13: 9780880016650

Bad Times in Buenos Aires

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

When Miranda France, a 26-year-old freelance journalist, arrives in Buenos Aires to live and work, she discovers a city in crisis. "People said the city was sinking," she writes. "Of the 300 brands of... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

A Fantastic Book for a Fantastic City

I had the privilege of living in Buenos Aires from my late childhood through mid-teens. I adore Buenos Aires and consider it and New York to be my hometowns.In many ways, I'd say that this book could've been written about New York - both are huge, vibrant, overwhelming, dirty, sparkling, and absolutely magnificent places, founded by fortune-seeking immigrants and constantly seeming to be on the verge of crisis. And like New Yorkers, Portenos take great pride in the fact that they live in such a place - our big is the biggest, or bad is the worst, and our good is the absolute best. And we wouldn't have it any other way.I like that Ms. France didn't gloss over or marginalise the ever-present image of Eva Peron - unlike so many writers, who seek to minimize her continuing influence, or relegate it to the old, Ms. France shows that even in this day, Evita has a hold on the nation she did so much to help. I'm proud to say that my family - both my mother's (Jewish) and my father's (Italian) were and remain committed Peronistas, and even during the darkest years of La Guerra Sucia, they kept their pictures and books by Evita - and both sides still use the prayerbooks put out (both Catholic and Jewish) after her untimely passing, which feature prayers for her. I still have mine, and continue that tradition here in the States. My main beef with the book was that it wasn't longer. Write more of the vibrant streetlife and cafe society! Mention the food, the joys and terrors of taking the underground, the Spanish so liberally peppered with Italian and Yiddish! Reading this brought on a bittersweet sense of homesickness, and mandates a trip home soon (I literally got a lump in my throat when Ms. France described the Peronista rally where they chanted "Se Siente - Se Siente - Evita Esta Presente!" - the same chant we would exultantly howl during our Peronista Youth Front meetings before the catastrophe...Ms. France got one thing wrong - Buenos Aires Te Mata is NOT a lament, it's a boast, a challenge to the world. Most Portenos say it with perverse pride, and would consider it a badge of honour. After all, it's a rare privilege to be able to say it!Even bad times in Buenos Aires beat good times almost everywhere else!

A funny and entertaining book about the city I live in!

Miranda France's intention is not to address the Argentine culture in an academic way but to share with the reader her stay in the "Paris of the Americas". I have to agree that potential visitors to Buenos Aires may not find it very encouraging nor touristically informative. Yet foreigners who have lived or live in Buenos Aires will find in this book the perfect answer to family and colleagues' questions: so, how is it other there, in Argentina? This book made me laugh about my misfortunes in Buenos Aires and made me realize I would miss this damn place when I go...Delightful.

Like good travel writing? ? read this!

Miranda France's first book is a neat, informative and sometimes amusing introduction to Buenos Aires: its history, culture and people. Whilst I started off with only a general curiosity for Argentina, my interest has been much awakened by the author's vivid and thoroughly researched accounts. France takes the reader through her experiences in Buenos Aires by focusing on a series of different aspects of the city and its culture: Evita, the Falklands, the `Dirty War' and the preoccupation with self analysis provide several examples. This approach is made interesting through the way France depicts the time she spent there, shown through meetings with many different people. These range from neighbours, to workers in cafes and stalls, to more prominent members of Buenos Aires society - with a chilling revelation made by one person that she talks to featured towards the end of the book.However, what comes across more than anything is the sadness which seems so deeply built into Buenos Aires: the `disappeared', the story of Evita, the origins of tango, and Argentine `bronca' all reflect an unsettled culture which, ultimately, France herself becomes caught up in. In the end, it is this that wills her back home, though she must now look back with much affection.This is a fascinating first picture of a city and country many of us do not know much about. `Bad Times in Buenos Aires' is a treat to read, and despite what the title suggests, may even encourage one or two readers to go and experience it for themselves. Definitely a recommended book for anyone who enjoys good travel writing.

Summarizes much of what I felt after experiencing this city!

I admire Ms. France's ability to have captured this city's psyche. How could people have lived through what they did over the past half-century and not be in emotional turmoil? How else could they rationalize all that has been squandered and pillaged: the lost promise of a country and city as proud and successful as any in western Europe or the new world (Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand...). How could they have tolerated the regimes of the Generals and Admirals? Or created the myth of Evita?Like Ms. France, I loved Buenos Aires and its inhabitants, but not enough to marry them and make them a part of my family. No wonder some of the reviewers on this page are outraged: they do not want to face up to the past of this amazing city and society. (My what Buenos Aires could have been, combining the architectural charm of Paris, the culture exuberance of Madrid, the entrepreneurial dynamism of New York, the fine weather of Miami, and the overall affluence of London.) And maybe these writers are right in claiming that a Brit like Ms. France -- or a Canadian like me -- cannot objectively write about their city. Maybe, but I doubt it. One only has to wander into Herrods on the Florida Mall to realize how broken a dream Argentina and Buenos Aires have become. Even the grander emporia of the Galerias Pacifico cannot make amends for the shabbiness of the metropolis itself. The residents do try to make the best of what they have, and must be admired. But they have been so betrayed by their forebearers that pyschosis is inescapable.And this is what Ms. France has so perfectly caught in this diary of her days in Buenos Aires.Certainly, a book like this could probably be written about just about any large city in the world, and each country does tend to have its own psychological profile. But this book is about Buenos Aires, and that city's psychosis is laid bare in it. The book's critics might well look to curing the disease, rather than trying to shoot the messenger.I plan to return to Buenos Aires later this year (if I'm let in after this review) because despite all the foregoing, and all the things included in Ms. France's book, it is a city well worth visiting and spending time in. If only to understand how it got this way...
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