Book Notes: Claudia Piñeiro’s Thursday Night Widows

Yes! This book is available in English! And it’s really good!

Latin America has been, from the start, “a laboratory of neoliberalism.” It’s a place where the most advanced neoliberal strategies are tried out before being exported to the US and Europe. Piñeiro’s novel describes a reality that already existed in Argentina in the early two thousands but that we are only starting to experience now. The extreme inequality, the dwindling upper middle class hiding behind the walls of gated communities as the lumpenproletariat loots and destroys whatever it can, the terror of losing one’s place in the shrinking elite and joining the plebs.

The writing is absolutely delicious. The book is gossipy, entertaining but also, in places, quite deep. People have been asking if they can read crisis literature in English. This is crisis literature in English. It’s in translation but American writers aren’t likely to get their heads out of their butts and start writing about anything real for the next 20 years, so what can you do?

4 thoughts on “Book Notes: Claudia Piñeiro’s Thursday Night Widows

    1. “a carefully provocative 2019 book on policing by pop-wisdom king Malcom Gladwell, which I read on the anniversary of Garner’s death. It begins by recounting the infamous July, 2015 encounter between Texas traffic officer Brian Encinia and an African-American woman named Sandra Bland. Stopped for the preposterous reason that she’d failed to signal before changing lanes to accommodate the accelerating Encinia, Bland ended up being jailed after the traffic stop turned hostile. Three days later, she killed herself in custody in an incident that may have been the most disturbing of all the police misconduct cases”

      I remember this case well. The woman had experienced a miscarriage and was deeply depressed. There’s zero police misconduct in this case. And what’s so preposterous about stopping people who don’t signal a lane change? They create dangerous situations on the road. Of course, they should be stopped. I was once stopped for it and rightfully so.

      As for the rest – facial expressions, sitcoms, etc – violent crime happens disproportionately in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. This is the only thing that needs to be discussed in this context. Baltimore and Chicago have murder rates higher than Tijuana, and both the victims and the murderers are almost without exception black. It would be really weird if cops didn’t behave differently in response to this observable, lethal reality.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s interesting “dwindling upper middle class” is mentioned.
    You know the condominium collapse in southern Florida a month-and-a-half ago? Those weren’t any subsidized HUD housing complexes, you know—-they were pricey trendy tenant-owned units occupied by retired professionals, retired professors, rich college students, and successful business owners and the like.
    One has to wonder: Just what kind of society also kills it’s “trophy” types alongside its “riff-raff” and “undesirables?

    Liked by 1 person

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