Unmistakably the work of César Aira, Varamo is about the day in the life of a hapless government employee who, after wandering around all night after being paid by the Ministry in counterfeit mone ...more
César Aira thrives on improvisation. His eighty or so novellas have been written, so the Argentine author recounts in an interview, one page at a time without rewriting or revision– then he move on to the next page - in other words, like a modern day Scheherazade, César makes it up as he goes along.
Which prompts the question: what kind of stories are we talking about here? Answer: whimsical, quirky, idiosyncratic, flighty. And heady, as if a few drops of Ludwig Wittgenstein or Jacques Derrida w ...more
Tough call on this one—a very tough call.
It’s become commonplace for me to begin or end these meager reviews with the caution: Not for everyone. Or, a recommendation to “the few.” The same caveat applies to Varamo; this is not fiction for the casual reader. I know, I know, arrogant, but there it is. For those who are story-dependent, this would not be my first suggestion…or third…or one hundredth. Better, perhaps, is to recommend this one to those who like books about books or writing—FICTION a...more
Came home last pondering when to begin the traditional chili verde, thought better of rushing in, fearful angels and all that. My better half was knitting and watching a PBS documentary on puffer fish and how the males make these ornate designs of ocean floor to attract potential mates. I ruminated on that a ...more
An update on that following soon thingy!
So, the reviewer, by using the general themes of this novella, decided to write a fictional story involving the creation of God, Holy Mother, Angels, Pre-God beings, and Human beings. It should have been a story of how the God of Death becomes a traitor by joining the Pre-God beings or Satans and gets caught by God, and the ensuing fatal decision of imparting a quality to Human beings, which was till then absent, ...more
Well, that doesn't seem to be happening any more, except perhaps in some whodunits. It certainly isn't happening in the slim novels of César Aira, an Argentinean from Coronel Pringles who writes the way a Roomba vacuum cleaner robot cleans: He just moves ...more
Even so, I'm giving it 5 stars, because I think it's that good. This is a very complicated, very slim, novel about abstraction and critism. Many ...more
The basic plot of the book concerns the titular character, Varamo, a 1920′s government employee in Panama. In the opening ...more
And then you ...more
Varamo is “a third-class clerk” working for the Panamanian government. In the year 1923, during the ten- to twelve-hours described in this novel, he will be inspired an ...more
It describes less than twenty-four hours in the life of a Panamanian civil servant in the 1930 ...more
This being the first book of CA that I have read, and due to its brevity, I cannot say that this can be considered an ultimate achievement. However, resonate it does and certainly it has spurred me to make reading more of his work a mission.
... how the inexplicable can be hidden within what we always take for granted. p62
The delicious black humor is subtle enough that I'm sure a ...more
This quote from Varamo, by Cesar Aira, suggests the author's own methodology. Aira is said to begin with an idea or two and then just go with it, writing full steam ahead and never looking back, never making revisions or altering what has come before no matter how the story develops. Hi ...more
Aira presents this story as an essay written in the style of a fictional narrative. The narration even muses on its own use of the free indire ...more
I liked the self-awareness of the text about literature, its evenly dosed wit and I really loved that in the novella, the author of the most celebrated poem in Panama merely transcribed his notebook of his hobbyist attempts at taxidermy in order to cash in. T ...more
This was the first of Aira's books tha ...more
it was introspective and randomly hilarious without feeling gimmicky. i liked the length too. overall, did not disappoint.
this is strange but the way the action was laid out sometimes reminded me of homestuck.
"Beware of procrastination; it's the bane of literature."
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