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The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  388 ratings  ·  50 reviews
César Aira's newest novel in English is not about a conventional doctor. Single, in his forties, and poor, Dr. Aira is a skeptic. His personality his weaknesses, whims, and pet peeves is summed up in a series of digressions and regressions but he has a very special gift for miracles. He no longer cares about miracles, however, and has no faith in them. Perhaps he is even a ...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by New Directions (first published 1996)
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3.73  · 
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 ·  388 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Garima
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Mike Puma
Just because there had not yet been any miracles, however, didn’t mean they couldn’t happen…

We live in a world dominated by the media. In a world where nearly anyone can have a camera primed and ready in their pockets, where everything we say or do can be unearthed by digging around the internet, we are constantly under the threat of having any of our actions called to the table for mass public scrutiny. César Aira’s novel, The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira, written at the turn of the century as t
Mike Puma
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: you know who you are

There’s something about a new César Aira novel—something that always makes me want to get my hands on it NOW. This one is, I think, even better than many of the others—something just shy of An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter. This one caught me up from the very beginning and didn’t turn loose. Exactly the sort of book I like, a book about fiction, fiction and writing, writing and reality, all that, sorta. And the ‘sorta’ is what I like.

Maybe it’s the way(s) Aira frequently returns to

Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1998
As much as I loved it, I don’t think The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira is a good jumping-off point for someone new to Aira. All of Aira’s short books are loads of fun, but sometimes that fun is had because you see how Aira is playing games that relate to books he’s already written. I think that’s the case here. If you love Aira, you’ll appreciate the fun going on here; if you don’t know him, you may actually be turned off, so strange is the meta-dialogue, and that would be a real shame. Then again, ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
embarking upon a newly translated césar aira novella is often as exciting an experience as the story itself. given that the argentine author is so astonishingly prolific, one never really knows quite what to expect from his fiction- save, of course, for the creativity and originality so common in his writing. with this, even when a particular aira story fails to be as captivating as the last one, it is nonetheless an enjoyable read.

the miracle cures of dr. aira (curas milagrosas del doctor aira)
Jan 24, 2013 added it
César Aira is flooding the market with his books—at least the Spanish-reading market (the English translation market cannot catch up). His is a thorough and deliberate exercise in style: each novel a miraculous variation of each other. The words within a single work are often self-referential, both to the work and to Aira's entire oeuvre itself. Consider a passage in the middle of The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira.

The first thing was to begin publishing his installments of the Miracle Cures. First
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
For Argentinean author César Aira, The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira fills a similar role to Federico Fellini's film 8-1/2: it is an autobiographical attempt to justify his methods of artistic creation. In fact, the main character is named Dr. Aira, a man from Coronel Pringles (the city in which the author was born and raised), who is known for performing miracle cures. He has an enemy, a certain Dr. Actyn, who has it in for him and wants to discover the secret of his art for his own nefarious purpo ...more
Gabriel Miranda
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cada nuevo acto de Aira, desde Las curas milagrosas sigue siendo imprevisible, manejando a la perfección esa máquina de ficcionar que devela siempre su propia y natural imperfección. La de Aira se convierte así en una literatura imperfecta, discontinua, pero al mismo tiempo brillante y genial a la hora de construir inverosímiles, fábulas y todo tipo de construcciones sobre asuntos cotidianos. En el aspecto, puro y duro, de la importancia de Las curas milagrosas en la obra de Aira, habría que mar ...more
Best Tawornwaranon
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
คนชอบพูดถึงไอราในฐานะของนักดนสด คือเขาไมสนใจความสอดคลองกลมกลืนหรือความสมเหตุสมผล เวลาเขียนแลวตันไอราจะดนไปเรือย เรืองมันเลยไปออกอะไรไมรู แถมเขียนจบแลวกจบเลย ไมแก เราอยากลองสัมผัสงานไอราบางเลยหยิบเลมนีมา แลวกพบวาพลาดมาก ในเรืองนีไอราคงไมมีอะไรใหดนเทาไหรเพราะเนือเรืองมันมีอยูสัก 20% ไดมัง ทีเหลือมันคือการนำเสนอแนวคิดทางการเขียนของไอราลวนๆ โดยเฉพาะในบททีสองทีถาตัดออกมา ปรับแกเลกนอย กตีพิมพเปนบทความเดียวๆ ได

ทีนีเมือมันเปนงานทีนำเสนอไอเดียเฉพาะตัว พอแนวคิดในการเขียนของเรากับเขามันตางกัน การอานมันเลยก
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I got an advance copy of this book at my first-ever literary world party in the New Directions offices during BEA 2012, but it languished around on my shelf for a while, mostly because I had never read (or previously even heard of) César Aira, but also because it's such a small book, and I had a big goal in my head to read some damn big books this year (see: previous review of Ulysses). Anyhow, time passes, as it does, and that's an important thing in this stupid little personal review, because ...more
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a mind-game of the kind readers of Sherlock Holmes will be familiar with. Dr. Aira, the main (truly the only) character, is abducted in the first pages by men he suspects of being hired by his nemesis, Dr. Actyn. This Holmes/Moriarty framework conditions everything that happens in these brilliant novella. Instead of a detective driven by an all-consuming logic, however, Aira gives us a theorist of miracle cures, a brilliant eccentric (more eccentric than brilliant, maybe) whose fla ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it liked it
i think i have codified exactly what it is that i like about many of the authors that fall into the "metaphysical" or "magical realism" swerve that i apparently only seem to read through translation. so things like this, amos tutuola, mayyybe rushdie. it is the clinical documentation of the miraculous - like if in the matrix instead of talking vague pseudo philocrap about how the spoon doesn't exist, you just have to understand everything in the universe that is not the spoon - the knife, the fo ...more
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Three thoughts:

1. What is Aira writing about? It always seems: something other than what he is writing about. Somehow impossible to fix an interpretation. This makes his novels highly enjoyable or interesting.

2. Metaphysics! Does Aira get his (pseudo?) mathematics from logic or from reading Badiou or something like this?

3. Madness.
Nov 12, 2012 rated it liked it
"..but if the Novel is good, if it is a work of art and not merely entertainment, it takes on the weight of reality as well." --

Surreal metafiction-- if there is such a genre put this at the top of the list.
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This one took a little more effort to get into for me (an odd thing to say about such a short book), but the final section is really remarkable. Aira is a writer who keeps my interest even if I don't love everything he does, because even when it doesn't quite work his stuff remains interesting.
Kirk Johnson
Jun 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Astounding. I've never read anything like it -- maybe it's like Jesse Ball on a very complicated day. Dense with heart and philosophy.
Arif Abdurahman
Aira bisa dibilang Borges versi nyeleneh dan gelo - dalam arti harfiah. Narsis banget tokohnya dinamain Aira. Seperti biasa, novelnya semau jidatnya. Mengawinkan metafisika dan metafiksi. Dokter Aira yg miskin, skeptis dan ga percaya tuhan dikasih mukzijat bisa nyembuhin orang. Di bab terakhir, si dokter ini dimintain tolong sama orang kaya yg pengen panjang umur. "He looked like Don Quixote attacking his invisible enemies, except his sword was the bundle of metaphysical foldout screens and his ...more
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Aug 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Live at the Improv

As the title indicates, The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira is another one of these fancy-pants pomo novels that are about writing novels: the novelist as miracle healer, the novel as miracle. This rings all kinds of alarm klaxons in the mind of the experienced reader, as novels about novels have no novelty left, while conflating writing with heroic magic is just about the most treacly, self-serving metaphor for artistic creation I've ever seen--and I've read Zen Pencils. Now, here
Full Stop
Jun 11, 2014 added it
Shelves: fall-2012

Review by Alli Carlisle

In César Aira’s The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira, the main character, Dr. Aira, is troubled by an excess of the ruminative faculty. We meet him wandering down a street in Buenos Aires, contemplating human dominance of the planet and the way moments of embarrassment, social awkwardness, have punctuated the grammar of his existence. Dr. Aira, very noticeably a namesake of the author, strikes one as perhaps a bit hapless, absorbed as he is
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Een tijdje geleden las ik een reeks Airaatjes achter elkaar, met het stellige voornemen om een nieuwe vertaling van deze man direct te kopen en te lezen. Dus toen dit boekje uitkwam deed ik dat, en spijt heb ik niet. De plot is, zoals vaker bij Aira, niet na te vertellen. Hoofdpersoon is in elk geval ene Dr. Aira, iemand met vrij ingenieuze en complexe gedachten over 'miracle cures', die hij op een gegeven moment in gang zet door alle verschijnselen in het universum (zowel 'realistisch' als 'ima ...more
The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira (New Directions) by César Aira begins with the title character talking to a tree.

So begins another original novel by Argentine-based Aira, whose Varamo was released earlier this year. In this 80-page novel, Dr. Aira is a Buenos Aires doctor who believes he is being followed and filmed in pursuit of his miracle cures.

The book is funny and philosophical at times, strange and confusing at others. Take this passage that shows Dr. Aira’s paranoia – and the book’s charm:

"He has lately begun to appreciate in all its magnitude the responsibility incumbent upon him as a creator of symbolic material."

This book is even more directly a metaphor for the writing of a novel than most of Aira's novels. But, what can I say? I love novels that are metaphors for the act of writing novels! A few common themes reappear in this book (repetition, miniatures) but the big thrust is that writing a novel is the act of dividing out everything from the universe into a new universe wh
Dec 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I thought the first half of this book was brilliantly intriguing and pregnant with obscured intertexuality. Among many, the image of Dr. Aira as a sort of somnambulistic flaneur with dialectical intentions resonates so strongly with the writing of Walter Benjamin that I would be amazed at the coincidence if his concepts were not a major influence, if not a building block of representation for Aira. The language is beautiful and deeply contemplative in the first 45 pages. I found the final sectio ...more
Jun 05, 2016 rated it liked it
This is probably the most philosophically dense of Aira's short little wonders I've read. I don't think more than maybe 5-6 pages of it are in anyway concerned with the 'plot' per se, and while I read Aira precisely for his gorgeous metaphysical reveries about every day life, about time and memory and space and simultaneity... somehow a book composed of nothing but those heady things just doesn't work for me.

If you've never read him before, I would say start with "An episode in the life of a la
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Awkwardly disguising himself as the protagonist, Aira spends the length of this novella taking on the aspects of his healer-savant. By slowly growing into the skin of his own chraacter, the writer becomes the miracle worker, and fiction is the miracle. In clearing away all the parts of reality which prevent miraculous events, fiction is the only place where a miracle can reasonably occur. The writer uses his time in the real world to create this fiction as an object in reality, and therefore giv ...more
Aug 02, 2015 added it
A bit too on the nose by the end for my taste. I like Aira’s explorations but this one felt less fun than THE CONVERSATION or THE LITERARY CONFERENCE. Metafiction can quickly become predictable once you know it’s an option for an author, and maybe this just felt too reliant on the obvious to effect me well. (view spoiler) ...more
Antonio Delgado
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heredero de Cervantes, Borges y Gombrobrowicz Aira construye una breve y densa novela en la que las teorías sobre el género son manifiestas no solo en base a la tradición sino en cuanto a la propia novela que él crea. Esta novela rechaza lo fantástico y se adhiere a la realidad mientras sumerge al lector en su propia trampa de aceptar lo fantástico como la realidad de la novela. La novela no es sino una broma de proporciones cósmicas que crea su propio universo sin separarse del mundo conocible.
Aaron Broadwell
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latin-american
There is a beautiful part toward the last four-fifths of this short little book where we get the nice contrast between internal view of the miracle cure that Dr. Aira is performing for his patient -- understood it its true complexity he is recreating the entire history of the world to make it possible for the patient to live -- and the external view, where he looks like a madman, flailing about in deranged contortions. The novelist Aira is like the curandero Aira; in one light his novels seem li ...more
Lauren Contreras-Loreto
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Once again Aira whisked me away to Buenos Aires, in a way that walks the line between dreams and the reality of emotion. As the main character, Dr. Aira sleep walks through his fantasies of changing and categorizing everything in the world, he is periodically hunted by the siren and the Doctor behind it. Aira has an amazing ability to manipulate words- casting a spell around his readers just as the character in the book does. A delightful read.
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. More zaniness from Cesar Aira, though this one kind of lost me. I always love the unpredictability and meandering of his novellas (and boy, does this one meander), but there weren't any big awesome moments in this one (like the ending of "Varamo" or the out-of-the-blue Science Fiction moments in "The Literary Conference"). Mostly I just hope somebody makes an Aira Anthology so I can reread all of his novellas sequentially.
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César Aira (born on February 23, 1949 in Coronel Pringles, Buenos Aires Province) is an Argentine writer and translator, considered by many as one of the leading exponents of Argentine contemporary literature, in spite of his limited public recognition.

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