How I Became a Nun
A sinisterly funny modern-day Through the Looking Glass that begins with cyanide poisoning and ends in strawberry ice cream."My story, the story of 'how I became a nun,' began very early in my life; I had just turned six. The beginning is marked by a vivid memory, which I can reconstruct down to the last detail. Before, there is nothing, and after, everything is an extensi ...more
Reality is the playground of the writer with memories and the artifacts of their past as the swings and slides for their games. César Aira’s How I Became a Nun is a humorous jaunt through the life of a 6 year old boy—or girl—also named César Aira as s/he learns the magic of blending fact and fantasy to better understand the undercurrent of magic pulsing through plain reality. Through a lonely pilgrimage of childhood, César experiments with fic ...more
‘How I became a Nun’ introduces us to an exceptional and somewhat intimidating architect who generously makes use of imagination for constructing a unique narrative. Something keeps on happening here; if not in the form of reality then in the infinite space of fiction. Our belief or disbelief in the strange lives this book depicts is our own business only and whether we derive from it a healthy dose of entertainment or an ined ...more
One likely to piss off some readers. It needn't. It will, it has, but it needn’t.
A precocious little girl (boy), César Aira—not the author, César Aira, or the César Aira who narrates The Literary Conference, but a fictional César Aira who will likely narrate other books by César Aira—recounts the traumatic event which begins her life in a new city before she (he) becomes increasingly distanced from the reality that others participate in. A little mind-fuck of a book given that she (he) narrates...more
Written as if the grown up self is remembering the events of his life at age 6, and trying not to filter it through the lens of reality.
A child's reality is different. Dreams may be real. Reality may seem dream-like. Dreams and reality may be the same. The experience is the reality, whether it is felt in conventional consciousness or altered states.
Memories are distorted, incomplete and fleeting. They are warped by dreams, and dreams are warped by memories.
All culm ...more
“Ebbene: la mia memoria si confonde con la radio. O, per meglio dire, io sono la radio. In virtù della perfezione senza difetti della mia memoria, sono la radio di quell'inverno. Non l'apparecchio, il meccanismo, bensì ciò che ne veniva fuori, la trasmissione, il continuum, quello che si trasmetteva sempre, anche quando la spegnevamo, o quando dormivo o ero a scuola. La mia memoria contiene tutto, ma la radio è una memoria che contiene se stessa, e io sono la radio”.
Non son ...more
But then we are in Aira country, where strange things happen and in turn morph into even stranger ones. The story begins with the narrator of indeterminate gender b ...more
5 stars for the first half of the novel.
3 stars for the second half.
1 star for the ending.
A lot of reader turbulence for such a short book.
I'm glad I read this but also glad I read "An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter" and "Ghosts" first. Look forward to more Cesar Aira in the near future.
"Because reality, the only sphere in which I could have acted, kept withdrawing at the speed of my desire to enter it"
Certainly he is becoming one of my favorite writers. Certainly he writes two books which I have read thus far, both unlike each other and unlike anything else I've read, this one telling the story of a childhood, of a girl who is sometimes the author himself (a man), resembling a child's point of view that is obviously too grown up to be a true child's view. The author himself wh ...more
Despite the brevity of the book, it felt packed, although I'm not sure with what. I found myself highl ...more
The first two chapters of this book are absolutely excruciating to read: incredibly well managed, funny, weird, tense, well conceived, and utterly bizarre. The narrator is a boy, but then again, he might be a girl: that's strange enough, because the ambiguity is managed offhandedly -- someone refers to the protagonist as "he," and someone else as "she." (The offhandedness of references to gender outdoes Yann Martel's attempt at the same insoucian ...more
Multiple of the book reviews on the cover talk of the author's eccentricity, rather than his writing abilities or books, if that tells you anything.
-The way the author effectively communicates the emotional state of the child with the brutishly ignorant, stubborn dad, embroiled in a pathetic confrontation.
-Seeming real knowledge and interest (even if it's a kind of ironic/critical interest) in the radio dramas that he communicates about well.
Barangkali César Aira hanya mengambil sifat nun itu sendiri tanpa perlu mematerial ...more
It's not intelligent enough to be worth it but also not funny enough to be worth it.
Still, there were some cutesy/fun/silly phrases:
"Por algo dicen: lo barato sale caro."
''Yo iba bien predispuesta. Adoraba a mi papá. Veneraba todo lo que viniera de él.'' (I think I remember so ...more
*spoiler review follows*
Many reviews have begun with the oddity of the protagonist's gender - as they refer to themself as ...more
But I do wonder if it leads to one of my biggest confusions of this book. Is this a boy, or a girl? In real life, César is male. This is obvious from his website and of course the Wikipedia article. His father calls him an awful boy, a horrible son when César does not like the ice cream his father bough ...more
El final más sorprendente, también.
UPDATE: 11/2013: I just finished a reread of this book. My thoughts are recorded here: http://booktrek.blogspot.com/2013/11/...
A little girl named César Aira was poisoned by contaminated strawberry ice cream. Her/his father took revenge on the ice cream vendor by dipping his head in the tub of poisoned ice cream. Only a literary monk could have written How I Became a Nun. The book is ultimately a missal of wicked i ...more
What gives with the gender bending?
Is this really supposed to be some sort of memoir? If so, is he on LSD?
What does being a nun have to d ...more
He has published over fifty books of stories, novels and essays. Indeed, at least since 1993 a hallmark of his work is an almost frenetic level of ...more