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Las Viudas de los Jueves = Thursdays' Widows [Spanish] [Paperback]

Claudia Pineiro

RRP: £11.79
Price: £11.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gated communities, closed minds 2 April 2008
By Ladyce West - Published on Amazon.com
In the last two decades of the 20th c. Raleigh, North Carolina, had a booming economy and a large number of newcomers. More and different housing were required. Developments, entire communities popped up, sometimes around a lake but most often around a golf course. Initially they were just regular streets with expensive houses. But soon these developments became exclusive communities, gated, with their own social structure: smaller houses in one part, larger houses in another. In one area all houses had shingled roofs, in another they were asphalt black tiles were permitted. These communities had several sports facilities, pre-schools, elementary schools and very strict rules of behavior within the community--all of this to address some sense of security. No one bothered to question the clipping of one's freedoms, even if small: the choices of your house's exterior colors, building styles, the landscaping of front yards. To someone living outside these communities, it appeared as if one needed to adjust oneself to the house, instead of having a home that expressed who you were.

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]
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting tale! 13 Sep 2009
By P. Cohen-Imach - Published on Amazon.com
I got this book as a gift & started reading it & couldn't stop until finished.
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".
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing view of the Argentinian upper class 2 Jun 2006
By Diego Zlotogora - Published on Amazon.com
"Las viudas de los jueves" means "The Thurday's widows" in Spanish and it refers to a group of women whose husbands have weekly just-men meetings on Thurdays' nights. They live in a private neighbourhood in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, and this is a relatively new phenomenon in Argentina that started around 15 years ago and is still increasing, as people lock themselves "in search of safety and nature", as they say...

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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars retrato de una crisis 12 Nov 2006
By Pedro Dobrée - Published on Amazon.com
Una correcta, creible y detallada descripción de la vida y de la cultura de una buena parte de las familias de altos ingresos, que viven actualmente en los barrios cerrados de la región que rodea a la Capital Federal en Argentina. Lectura amena.

Probablemente una alegoría respecto a las experiencias de la clase media argentina, luego de la gran crisis del año 2001
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Las Viudas de los Jueves 19 May 2010
By Alberto C. Serrano MD - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Written in short stories with a common thread Las Viudas de los Jueves describes the life of several families in a country club near Buenos Aires. Claudia Pinero is a sharp observer of contemporary life of upper middle class families in Buenos Aires and of the contrast with nearby poor neighbors. Her narrative is fresh and intelligent,she does not try to tell it all and invited the reader to complete the dots. Claudia shows her characters in their habitat without judging them,let us draw our own conclusions.
I look forward to reading more of Claudia Pinero's exciting work.

Alberto C Serrano MD
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