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Evenings at the Argentine Club

Evenings at the Argentine Club
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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.

Book Club Questions
1)  The Argentine Club was the glue that kept all these people together. Even the younger generation that resisted attending showed up week after week. Even for Eric, gaining the acceptance of the club members was important to him. What do you feel groups such as these do for a community? Does it keep immigrants from becoming Americanized? Or help make the transition easier?

2) Every character in the story was seeking, in some way, to fulfill the American dream. Is the dream still a possibility in this country? If no, what has changed? If yes, is it still the same dream that early immigrants came to this country to achieve?

3) Victor needed to see himself as a successful man. He had immigrated to America, opened his own business, and supported his family.  He also owned his own home, and was a well respected member of his community. Why wasn’t that enough for him?

4) How do you think Victoria’s relationship with her father affected her blossoming relationship with Eric?

5) Eric had positive relationship role models in his parents. Victoria witnessed more of a dysfunction in her parents’ relationship. Did they bring relationship expectations into their love affair? How was that reflected?

6) In Latin America it is not unusual for a child to live with his or her family until they get married - which could be clear into their thirties.  Eric broke with that tradition and was heavily criticized. Victoria lived with her parents even at the age of 28. Was one of them more balanced than the other? Do you see a problem with children staying to live with their parents longer?

7) As mothers, our jobs are to help our children mature and prepare them to live life on their own. Did Jaqueline perform this job well? Did Lucia?

8) Even though Antonio was far from perfect, Lucia saw him as perfect, and loved him anyway. Was she naive? Is this what true love is all about?  How do you feel about their marriage?

9)  Victoria’s weight issues were caused by her inability to deal with who she really wanted to be. How do you feel that her decision to follow her dreams helped her shed the extra pounds she carried?

10)  Victoria thought of herself as too fat? Who defines proper weight? It never bothered Eric. Did you buy that?

11)  Did Victoria hold traditional Latino values? How did they affect the way she lived her life? What are traditional Latino values? Is there such a thing?

12) Independence is one of the themes of the book. Are we ever truly independent or is that a myth?


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