Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Moldavian Pimp by Edgardo Cozarinsky

The title of Argentine film-maker and writer Edgardo Cozarinsky's first novel promises a shady émigré underworld, while the cover image of 1920s tango star Osvaldo Fresedo playing the bandoneon evokes an era of underpaid musicians, tubercular artistes and European immigrants with small suitcases and big hopes. Among them were thousands of Jewish women whose hopes were promptly crushed. The "fiancés" who had brought them to the New World often turned out to be procurers for the flourishing white slave trade between Europe and Argentina, of which the most infamous gang was the Jewish Zwi Migdal. The young woman was locked up in some dingy Buenos Aires attic and forced to service local machos, recent immigrants themselves. She couldn't buy herself back, even if she saved enough from her meagre wages. The punishments for attempted escapes were terrible.
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