January 16, 2018
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By Herald Staff
Abadón — la desglobalización y los monstruos que se incuban by Claudio Fantini (Hojas del Sur), 536 pages

No matter how little Spanish you might command, you should be able to work what “desglobalización” means in English while any doubts about who Claudio Fantini might be referring to with “the monsters lurking in the cracks” (the rest of the subtitle) are resolved by the photos on the cover — Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, a group of ISIS terrorists, Donald Trump, his love-hate Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and a Brexit poster as examples of the centrifugal forces complicating globalisation. Fantini (who doubles as a university professor and as a journalist on both sides of the River Plate) analyses how the post-democratic politics of such demagogic, power-mad leaders is symptomatic of today’s fragmented societies. This political analyst and columnist takes his River Plate vision around much of the world (we cannot say most because beyond Islam he virtually omits the Afro-Asian countries which house a majority of this planet’s population) — his chapters, all containing the word “post-cards,” cover North America (not much Canada although something on Mexico), Islam, Russia, Europe and Latin America before leaving this regional perspective to discuss more universal subjects such as the nuclear menace and religion in the last 30 pages.                                                  

Autoayuda para snobs by Daniel Molina (Paidós) 304 pages

For most people “snob” is a pejorative word but apparently not for Daniel Molina, who elevates the breed to something close to heroic as defenders of elegance in an increasingly ugly modern world. Most people might find that old joke “the best business in the world is to buy an Argentine for what he is worth and sell him for what he says he’s worth” highly applicable to snobs but Molina would define them as people who can stop to think amid the pace of modern life, defend good living in a hostile world and respond to the cynics with irony. So anybody who was taught that the word “snob” originated from the French “sans noblesse.” can put that into their pipe and smoke it. Molina has devoted his whole life to reading books and now finally he has plucked up the courage to write one. Ancient Rome, art history, philosophy, modern media, the social networks, the rage and intolerance of today’s world, Argentina and the “miracle of literature” are among the areas where he puts to the test the art of the narrative and intelligent comment which he feels he has acquired from his extensive reading but everything boils down to the fundamental question of the point of life. Perhaps only the snob (according to Molina’s criteria) has the “joie de vivre” to give a positive answer to that question.                   

Todos estos años de gente by Christian Kupchik (Antonio Rimba Editores), 307 pages

No better time to review this kind of publication than during the weeks when the Book Fair is unfolding in Palermo. Most literary experts write about what they have read (although you might be surprised by how many reviews are penned without actually reading the book in question) but Argentine-born Christian Kupchik raises the bar here — this scholar does not write about any author unless he has not only read their works but also has interviewed them during his countless trips or else has some personal familiarity at first or second hand. Among the great pens of 20th century literature meeting these twin criteria are John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Antonio Lobo Antunes, Nélida Piñón, John Banville, Antjie Krog, Susan Sontag and (last but not least) Jorge Luis Borges — far from a complete list but an interesting one. Kupchik was born in this city but has travelled widely since, having studied psychology in UBA and París-Vincennes and philology in Stockholm . His passion for literature was actually born out of being incessantly on the move — travel books came first and this gradually evolved into a fascination with poetry and literature in general, a career in cultural journalism which now extends over a quarter-century.             
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Edition No. 5055 - This publication is a property of NEFIR S.A. -RNPI Nº 5343955 - Issn 1852 - 9224 - Te. 4349-1500 - San Juan 141 , (C1063ACY) CABA - Director Perdiodístico: Ricardo Daloia