Claudia Piñeiro was born in the province of Buenos Aires in 1960. As an author and scriptwriter for television she has already won numerous national and international prizes, among them the renowned German LiBeraturpreis for ELENA SABE and the prestigious Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize for LAS GRIETAS DE JARA.
Claudia Piñeiro’s most recent book, Un comunista en calzoncillos (“A Communist in Underpants”), is a flashback to the author’s childhood and an homage to her father, intertwining facts and fiction. More than anything else, the 13-year-old protagonist longs for a normal father who visits school events and has a regular job, instead of one who constantly grumbles about the country and its symbols. Only when her teacher disappears after the military coup d’état do both finally come closer – and the daughter commits her own tiny act of rebellion. This warm-hearted book, full of insightfully observed details, sparkles with both subtly personal and cheerful episodes.
In her novel Betibú, Claudia Piñeiro uses her typical human touch to combine an exciting thriller with an astute portrait of the Argentinean media and society. When the crime journalist Jaime Brena hears of a murder in the well-guarded community La Maravillosa, he hooks up with the famous writer Nurit Iscar, also called Betibú. She is to cover the case for the newspaper director, who also happens to be her ex-lover. While uncovering the crime's horrifying background, Betibú and Brena come steadily closer.
A dazzling beginning, a perfect and sinuous rhythm, a magnificent style. Betibú sketches a social portrait that is both relentless and ironic. The best of Claudia Piñeiro's novels, and that means a great deal.
Through the strength and the complexity of her characters, Claudia turns literature into a 3D experience. This is true Argentine literature from the first to the last line.
Betibú is a personal manifesto of the times we live in. An engaging novel.
Betibú reads with the rhythm of suspense itself as if we were watching a movie. A very tight plot, disarming characters and dialogues that mark an elaborate way of writing.
Tuya (“All Yours”) tells us what a woman is capable of when she finds out she is being cheated on. When Inés discovers that her husband Ernesto is having an affair, her world falls apart. Nevertheless, she holds on to him and even helps him cover his tracks when she witnesses his lover's accidental death. But then Inés learns that Ernesto intends to accuse her of the murder in order to escape with his new lover – and takes revenge.
Hitchcock is a lady who lives in Buenos Aires.
Corriere della Sera
If you read only one crime book in translation this year, make it this one.
Crime Time UK
Claudia Piñeiro is a real discovery: her debut novel Tuya is an explosive, tightly-plotted romantic tragedy which gets straight to the point – the deepest darkest point – and highly entertaining. Further evidence that South America is a global player in current crime literature.
In Las viudas de los jueves, fifty kilometres outside the gates of Buenos Aires lives the small society of Altos de la Cascada. Behind locked doors, shielded from the crime, poverty and filth of the people on the streets, it is seemingly occupied with troubles such as the summer’s drought of the communal golf course. Behind this façade, however, lie conflicts that cross all borders of social class: Infidelity, alcoholism, infertility and abusive marriage. And finally, the economical consequences of 9/11 and Argentina’s crisis take their toll. Yet instead of rolling up their sleeves, three devoted family fathers from Cascada find an alternative solution in order to save their loved ones from lowering their accustomed standard of living, let alone their wives having to do the housework… The novel opens with the discovery of the three men’s corpses in the pool. Had not Romina – psychologically victimised by her adoptive mother for her dark skin – and her boyfriend Juani witnessed the event, no one would ever have known what really happened. Claudia Piñeiro has invented this story before it took place in a similar way, and, in sparse and powerful prose, tells of a crime that generated a scandal in the Argentinean media.
Jury members of the Premio Clarín on Las viudas de los jueves:
An unrelenting analysis of a social microcosm in an accelerating process of decadence.
A razor-sharp psychological and social portrait not only of Argentina, but of the affluent Western world as a whole.
An attention-grabbing story with cinematic rhythm and the vigour of a punch in the stomach.
Eduardo Belgrano Rawson
In Las grietas de Jara (“Jara’s Crack”), Claudia Piñeiro once again demonstrates her capacity to reveal the things hidden behind the facades of our existence; human relationships based on habit and cowardice, rather than love; on excessive ambition and personal gain, rather than morality. The author brings it all bubbling to the surface with her unbiased eye and a narrative voice that, like a detective novel, successfully engages the reader from start to finish.
For Pablo Simó, neither his marriage nor his career as an architect, have turned out quite as he had expected them to. Family life is dominated with arguments between him and his wife over their rebellious daughter, Francisca. At the office he designs houses that are all much the same and of no particular architectural interest. To top it all, he has never been asked by Borla, the director of the company and his supposed friend, to be a partner, even though his colleague has been.
Pablo’s life changes significantly with the unexpected appearance of Leonor. The girl brings to light a crime that happened years before, in which Pablo had played an important role – one which he thought he had managed to forget about. This turn of events gives him back his joie de vivre and opens him up to the possibilities of love again, as it becomes clear that he needs to change his life. The victim of the crime was an old man called Jara who had tried to claim compensation for cracks that were appearing in his flat, due to an adjacent construction that Borla was in charge of. The architect, however, refused to pay anything and instead opted to speed up the construction of his building instead. Jara catches on and tries to interfere personally in an attempt to slow it down. During a quarrel between Borla and Jara, Jara fell down a hole in the foundations. Pablo discovers that Leonor now lives illegally in Jara’s flat and he soon realises that everyone in this small human cosmos has a secret to hide. His gives his life a radical shake-up and leaves his wife, but maintains an affectionate relationship with his daughter. He leaves his job, but not before taking a small piece of revenge by following up on Jara’s case and his cracks, whilst also sorting out some business the girl had introduced to him.
Claudia Piñeiro is a real discovery. Further evidence that South America is a global player in current crime literature.
That morning, Elena knows she has a hard day ahead of her. She must take the train from the suburb into central Buenos Aires, in spite of her Parkinson’s disease. She wants to prove that her daughter Rita, who stayed with her even when she had her first boyfriend at the age of 40 and caring for the ill mother became hard work, did not commit suicide. Elena sabe (“Elena Knows”), although nobody believes her. After all, she is the mother. And only one person still owes her a favour: Two decades before, Rita had saved a woman from abortion. In Buenos Aires, when Elena finally sits face to face with this woman, Isabel claims she owes her nothing. On the contrary. She was raped by her husband, beaten and humiliated. Her words put a harsh end to all of Elena’s certainty...
Claudia Piñeiro skilfully interweaves plot lines from the past and present and lets them conversely highlight each other. She succeeds in giving a wonderful portrayal of the relationship between mother and daughter, between dependence, hate and love, of an increasingly common illness nobody wants to talk about, of old age and the situation of the caring relatives. Besides our arrogance is reflected, with which we judge so easily, simply on the grounds of a belief or prejudice, and without really knowing anything at all.
Las viudas de los jueves, Buenos Aires: Alfaguara 2005, 2011 Madrid: Alfaguara 2012, 352 p.
More than 200.000 copies sold
Premio Clarín 2005
Film rights with Tornasol and Haddock Films, directed by Marcelo Piñeyro, 2009
Albania: Dudaj 2011 ● Brazil: Editora Objetiva 2007 ● Bulgaria: Colibri 2012 ● Croatia: Profil ● France: Actes Sud 2009 ● German: Unionsverlag 2010, pb 2012, Büchergilde 2011 ● Israel: Keter 2010 ● Italy: Il Saggiatore 2008 ● Netherlands: Signatuur 2009 ● Portugal: Quidnovi 2008 ● Romania: Univers 2011 ● Russia: Ast 2010 ● Serbia: Profil 2010 ● Sweden: Leopard 2012 ● Turkey: Pegasus ● UK: Bitter Lemon 2009
Tuya, Buenos Aires: Colihue 2006, Alfaguara 2008, 165 p.
Film rights and German TV rights sold
Brazil: Verus ● Bulgaria: Colibri ● Czech Republic: Albatros 2012 ● German: Unionsverlag 2008, pb 2009, 2010 ● Hungary: Európa 2012 ● Italy: Feltrinelli 2011, pb 2011, 2012 ● Lithuania: Alma Littera ● Portugal: Quetzal 2012 ● Russia: Ast 2010 ● UK: Bitter Lemon 2011
Elena sabe, Buenos Aires: Alfaguara 2007, 173 p.
Film rights under option
France: Actes Sud 2011 ● German: Unionsverlag 2009, pb 2011 ● Israel: Keter 2012 ● Netherlands: Signatuur 2010
Las grietas de Jara, Buenos Aires: Alfaguara 2009, 250 p.
Film rights sold to Haddock Films
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize 2010
Croatia: Profil ● France: Actes Sud ● German: Unionsverlag 2011 ● Italy: Feltrinelli ● Serbia: Profil ● UK: Bitter Lemon
Betibú, Buenos Aires: Alfaguara 2011, 352 p.
Film rights sold to Haddock Films
Brazil: Verus ● France: Actes Sud 2013 ● German: Unionsverlag 2013 ● Hungary: Európa ● Italy: Feltrinelli 2012, pb 2013 ● Netherlands: Signatuur 2012 ● Romania: Univers
Un comunista en calzoncillos, Buenos Aires: Alfaguara (forthcoming in May 2013)
Cuánto vale una heladera, Buenos Aires: Ministerio de Educación 2004
Un mismo árbol verde
Con las manos atadas
Stories for children:
Un ladrón entre nosotros, Bogotá: Norma 2005, 92 p.
Serafín, el escritor y la bruja, Buenos Aires: Ed. Don Bosco 2000, Alfaguara 2011, 85 p.
Barcelona: Edebé 2000, 2007
For young readers:
El fantasma de las invasiones inglesas, Buenos Aires: Norma 2010, 126 p.