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Long After Midnight at the Niño Bien: A Yanqui’s Missteps in Argentina Hardcover – March 4, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs; Softcover edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1586483706
  • ISBN-13: 978-1586483708
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,620,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Winter, a 22-year-old college graduate from Texas, suddenly found himself in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2000 with no job and about $2,000 of savings, he never thought the importance of the tango, a century-old dance, would reshape his life as a man and as a writer of this insightful, comic memoir. He falls under the influence of the regulars of Niño Bien, a ramshackle milonga, a club where the tango is danced amid laughter, flirting and the raucous music of the bandoneón and the guitar. In his colorful, energetic descriptions of characters like Luis, the club owner, and El Tigre, a sailor turned tango instructor, Winter connects the dots between the social and political history of Argentina and tango music, chronicling the faithful bond between the pair. One element of the travelogue that captures interest is the strict code governing tango society, as El Tigre advises the author: The first thing you have to know [is] that in the tango, the man controls everything. Along with a hit-and-miss flirtation, Warner learns about the passion, lust and romantic nature of the tango that seduced a country. Winter, now an editor at USA Today, provides readers with an outrageously funny tale of dance steps and travel. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Entertaining, charming, insightful and outrageous ... "Long After Midnight at the Nino Bien" is a book you will not be able to put down. It is a deft blend of history, memoir and unabashed love for a country and the dance that epitomizes it. Winter's narrative is intoxicating and nothing less than a look into the very soul of Argentina."--"Tucson Citizen," April 17, 2008

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Customer Reviews

I blame the author less than his editor.
Robert St James
Brian Winters' story is all tango even in his description of the history and culture of Argentina.
Jim
Despite this, the book is an enjoyable read.
Karin Norgard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Cherie Magnus on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Books and blogs by women about their tango experiences/epiphanies in Buenos Aires proliferate yearly. (OK, so I'm one of those women.)

It's refreshing to read a story about a foreigner in Buenos Aires written by a man. Sure, we've had the cheap and disgusting Kiss and Tango by Marina Palmer, and the interesting pre-crisis Bad Times in Buenos Aires by Miranda France, among many others, but now we have something entirely different: Brian Winter's Long After Midnight at the Nino Bien; a Yanqui's Missteps in Argentina.

Not a memoir, but rather a well-written attempt to make 21st century readers understand the why-and-wherefores of the Buenos Aires of today. It's not an excuse for the author to delve into his emotional past, or to write about sexual encounters, nor does he do any reflection--the main aspect of a memoir. It's an impressionistic travelogue with fantasy characters--think Wizard of Oz or Star Wars set in South America with lots of illuminating and witty historical citations.

Young Mr. Winter (a recent college grad who floats to Argentina hoping to find a job) also writes about his experience as a tango dancer wannabe. He relates preposterous scenes with fictitious milongueros, but I believe these scenes, while accurately conveying feelings and emotions if not truths, are not from his experience but from research and imagination. He is a fantastic researcher, as well as a hell of a writer. And he's funny, too!

He wanted to write an essay about Buenos Aires, and how then could he leave out tango, even if he knew nothing and cared less about it? His Mafia round table of wise old milongueros allow for exposition and stories about Argentina's history, the influence of the gauchos, the corruption of the politicians, the legacy of Peron and Evita.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ted Goertzel on May 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book makes Argentina come alive with real people and lively dialogue. I've read a lot about Argentina's social, political and economic crises, but the country never really came together for me until I read this book. Argentina, like the tango, is a sad thought you can dance to. Of course, it's a foreigner's perspective, but a fresh one from a young man who jumped into the whirl of Argentine life without preconceptions and writes about it with a refreshing honesty and lack of pretense.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Gardel on January 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This guy can write and he really captures the Fellini like quality of BsAs and its tango sub-culture. This book really had me laughing. If you're going to Argentina, and/or a tango addict, I highly recommend this book. What makes this "memoir" different from others is the writer's ability to vividly capture other people, and not just talk about what's going on in his head. Great read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ed Posnak on November 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read this book while on vacation in Buenos Aires and could not put it down. It is well written, with reflections on Argentinas history blended nicely with the author's own experiences. Some reviews have indicated he falls short in understanding Argentina beyond cliche, which may be true, but as a Yanqui, first-timer in Buenos Aires, my understanding could only be deepened. So, if you come here knowing nothing, as I did, I think you will really enjoy this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By SeaGoat under Sirius on November 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a tango obsessive, with over 200 CDs, over 70 DVDs, and about 40 books; and a milonga visitor at least twice weekly, it takes something 'special' in tango to put me off tango. It takes something very rare to put me to sleep. This is it! It's slow, sleepy and, albeit a great cure for insomnia, it's not tango. Well, you see, it's not exciting, passionate, riské, nor sensitive, neither is it, I felt, very good literature. In fact I feel I wasted my time on this book. I would recommend the reader of this review reads instead, either "The Tango Singer", by Thomas Elloy Martinez, or, "Paper Tangos" by Julie Taylor. Even Larry Sawyer's erotic tango tales have more life than this Hemingway-wannabe. If you want real life tango tales, read "Tango: Lessons for Life", by Jeannette Potts, or, the even better "The Tao of Tango, by Johanna Siegmann, instead. For a fuller list of alternative tango books available on Amazon copy and paste this list address into your browser URL:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tango-my-Argentine-Tango-books-my-Tango-Argentino-shelf/lm/R3TEM7F4UB45V3/ref=cm_srch_res_rpli_alt_1
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Drew S. on August 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author has talent and knows how to write. However, he does not manage to go even a little bit beyond the usual stereotypes about Argentina. It may have been too easy for him to fall to the temptation of using the same template over and over again when he was working for Reuters during those years when the Argentinian economy collapsed, and the world showed a sudden, albeit passing, interest in that country's fate: this book is just that same template more elaborated and expanded. Although the author seems to be a perceptive young man and seems to have spent some effort researching the country's history, he wasn't able to come up with an understanding beyond the cliche. That's at least my humble opinion, having spent 25 years of my life in that country. I still give this book three stars because it's entertaining and it taught me a couple of things about Discepolo and the tango.
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