Evenings at the Argentine Clubby Julia Amante
Victor and Jaqueline Torres imagined moving to the U.S. would bring happiness and prosperity-instead they found a world of frustration. While Victor put long hours into his restaurant business, Jaqui devoted her life to her daughters, until they grew up and moved on. Even their eldest, Victoria, is torn trying to reconcile being the perfect Argentine daughter and an independent American woman. Antonio and Lucia Orteli face the same realities, especially when their only son Eric leaves their close-knit Argentine community in pursuit of his own dreams. When Eric unexpectedly shows up at the Argentine Club-the heart of the Argentine community in southern California-he starts a series of events that will bring these two families closer than ever. New relationships are formed and old ones are put to the test, as everyone must learn how to balance different cultures-and different dreams-without hurting those they love.
Evenings at the Argentine Club is a big, beautiful novel of love, family, and the close-knit community they inhabit. By turns touching, funny, tragic, and triumphant, it's the story of an endearing group of people in search of their own American dream. This book is a delightful feast for the reader."New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs"
In Evenings at the Argentine Club, Julia Amante has created an enchanting community to fall into, true-to-life characters to fall in love with, and a rich story that will fall directly onto readers' keeper shelves. Amante's tale is tantalizing tango for the imagination."Lynda Sandoval, award winning author of Unsettling and Who's Your Daddy?"
A fresh and unique perspective into a culture that is at once foreign and familiar. I savored every word."Julie Leto, New York Times bestselling author"
An engaging story of family, community and the love the binds it all together. "RT Book Reviews"
The story of Victoria and Eric is a story of family, culture, class, success, and love in the vein of the film My Big Fat Greek Wedding."Booklist
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Julia Amante had the misfortune of growing up away from the extended family that is so valued in the Latin culture, but missed out on very little of what it means to be Argentine. Asados were sacred meals shared together on weekends. Cheering for the Argentine soccer team was a must, as were the weekly pilgrimages to the Argentine Club in Los Angeles where the young Americanized kids hid under the tables and watched the adults dance tango until the wee hours of the morning. Julia giggled right along with the rest of the kids at how "geeky" the parents looked, but secretly, was intrigued by the romantic culture and passionate music.
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"To every Argentine immigrant, July 9 is a day that brings back memories of family celebrations centered around food, wine, and heart-pounding renditions of national theme playing on every radio and TV across the nation. July 9 is Independence Day. A day of freedom and new beginnings. But to those Argentines living in America, it's also a day to admit with a fair amount of guilt that they chose to give up their old life for the intangible, unexplainable dream of. . . something better." - Evenings at the Argentine Club by Julia Amante So opens, Julia Amante's newest work, Evenings at the Argentine Club. Julia Amante fashions a story around the lives of two families that have emigrated from Argentina to the United States. She captures with depth and sympathy the points of view of the many and diverse characters. You'll meet the Torres family. At twenty-eight years, Victoria, has worked for the family restaurant, La Parilla, and the Argentine Cafe, ever since she left college. Vivacious, organized, and kind, she has handled the decorations, celebrations, daycare and helped develop a sense of community. It's been seemed natural for her to step in, so much so, that she's hasn't considered going after her own dreams but this changes. Victor Torres, her ambitious and protective father, who dreams of opening a chain of successful restaurants and returning back to Buenos Aires with his lovely wife. Jacqueline Torres, who has made her family her life and is only now allowing herself to feel lonely and disaffected with her daughter gone. Fortunately, Jacqueline is well loved and easy to befriend - her old friends and new help her ride the transition and find her own path. The Ortelli family has its own secrets. Eric Ortelli, the successful son, visits home for the first time in years. He spent years building a career and business from scratch. He doesn't expect the hostility and disapproval from his old friends and the Argentine community, but he's determined to make a success of his new venture and to help Victoria with the changes in her life. His father Antonio Ortelli was disappointed when Eric chose not to go to law school but he tries to understand his son's new business. Antonio tries to offer his advice and get involved in Eric's business, but his optimism and business naivete threatens their fragile relationship. Lucia Ortelli is happy just to have her family together in one roof. Lucia can't help dreaming that her Eric will fall in love with her best friend's daughter Victoria and that the young couple will choose to make their lives in the neighborhood. I thoroughly enjoyed Evenings at the Argentine Club for many reasons. What I loved most about the book is how it captures so well the longings, sacrifices, and the compromises that accompany the immigrant experience. Each person balances the desire to succeed in their new country with the love and longing for a place or time that was left behind. Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (September 25, 2009), 352 pages. Review copy provided by Hatchette Book Group.
EVENINGS AT THE ARGENTINE CLUB Julia Amante Grand Central Publishing $13.99 - Paperback ISBN: 978-446-0-58162-2 336 pages Reviewer: Annie Slessman EVENINGS AT THE ARGENTINE CLUB by Julia Amante is the story of two families who came to America to live out their dreams. The Torres and Orteli families have been best friends since their arrival in Southern California. Along with other Argentine families, they have formed the Argentine Club where they visit with one another on special occasions and also prepare and eat traditional Argentine dishes. It is their hope that their children will become friends and eventually marry Argentine spouses. Victoria Torres is the eldest of the Torres children and works at her father's restaurant, plans the events at the Argentine Club and supports her parent's dreams. Meanwhile, her own dreams of being an interior designer seem to farfetched to ever reach reality. Only when Eric Orteli returns home does her dream seem to take on a life of its own. Eric is a real estate investor who left home, despite his parent's objection, many years ago to find his own life. When he renews his childhood friendship with Victoria they team up to refurbish a home he bought in the area to fix up and sell. Meanwhile, Victoria's mother, Jacqueline struggles to find herself after Victor, her husband, moves to their garage at her request. She wants time to re-evaluate their marriage and make a decision as to whether or not she wants to continue in her marriage to Victor. This story, while a study of Argentine families is really a study of American families as well. It is not a new story but an old one well told providing you with a sense of satisfaction when you read the last word.