In Strangers’ Arms is a great read not only for tango enthusiasts but for anyone who is interested in learning about the underlying culture and beat of Buenos Aires. Having just returned from a visit there, this book provided wonderful insight into the history, attitudes, behaviors and neighborhoods of this diverse city. Though I do not tango, I have always been fascinated by the dance – its origins, passion and mesmerizing provocativeness. After reading the book, I found myself even more intrigued by it – and obsessed with wanting to experience the intoxication of the movement, the wordless exchange.
The author playfully engages and invites the reader to look beneath the many levels of the dance and also – somewhat teasingly through her own personal experiences – invokes a voyeurism of the city’s intriguing neighborhoods and milongas. It’s as if Beatriz told me about a secret world of people and places that I couldn’t wait to experience for myself. For example, the theatrical nature of La Boca, the mystery of San Telmo, the weaving of the city’s cultures through its architecture.
I feel that I have had a richer, more rewarding experience in my travels having had In Strangers’ Arms as my guide.