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Birthday

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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  343 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Soon enough you realize that you are no longer twenty years old, because right away you are no longer young ... and by the way, while you were thinking about other things, the world was also changing. And then, just as suddenly, you are fifty years old. Aira had anticipated his fiftieth—a time when he would not so much recall years past as look forward to what lies ahead— ...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published February 26th 2019 by New Directions (first published 2001)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  343 ratings  ·  45 reviews


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Helena
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me sobreviene una pregunta. Puedo permitirme una excepción: si Aira habla de él, bien puedo escribir sobre mi hablando de Aira. Ya la frase parece complicada, no lo es, y la trama se complica sin necesidad de ningún tipo. Sucede que es muy tentador hablar de mi cunpleaños, con la vana esperanza de que Aira me lea hablando de mi cumpleaños con excusa de su cumpleaños y le pongamos así papitas a todo.


Este año cumplí años y es otro más cerca de los cuarenta. Falta, pero la cuestión es ascendente.
...more
g
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Manifiesto de la estética de Aira. Con ocasión de cumplir 50 años en 1999 -es cuando se descubre ignorante de las fases de la luna-, Aira reflexiona sobre su literatura, aclara ideas, trata de explicitar supuestos, procedimientos, descubrimientos y algunas consecuencias. Cumpleaños es un borrador del sistema axiomático de Aira, un diagrama de la máquina que escribe sus libros. Es un dispositivo que necesita crearse a sí mismo. La máquina vive en otro mundo. Del otro lado de la madriguera del ...more
Juan Nalerio
No sé cómo hacer una review de un relato de Aira.
Son libros sobre nada, los emparento a capítulos de la mítica serie de TV Seinfield.

Con Aira no se sabe bien que pasa ni como sucede, pero misteriosamente uno tiene que seguir leyendo e imaginando y dando por buenos, eventos, personas y lugares que no se pueden tomar como partes de nuestro mundo. Está bueno leerlo.
jeremy
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
life is change and movement. i stay still, doing the same thing every day, while everyone else is rushing around at a phenomenal speed.
reading césar aira remains a singular joy, as with each new book (there are over 90!), his readers never quite know what to expect. the 16th of the argentine's works to be translated into english, birthday (cumpleaños) was published shortly after the author turned 50 (the english edition is released around the time of aira's 70th birthday). a ruminative,
...more
Samantha Colwell
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This short work by prolific author Aira, translated from Spanish by Chris Andrews, is almost exactly what I was expecting--a brief interlude written by a man musing on his perception of reality while an important birthday passes.

He begins with an embarrassing anecdote about how he never really learned the science behind the phases of the moon. Recently he made a joke about the earth creating a shadow across the moon. His wife corrected him. It was then he realized that his entire life he’d been
...more
Leopoldo
No sé cómo empezar a escribir esta reseña. Ni siquiera sé cómo condensar todo lo que este libro me dijo. Después de quedar confundido y atónito con la lectura de Cómo me hice monja, no sabía qué pensar del escritor argentino. Un par de meses después leí este extraño libro, a raíz de asistir una charla que daría Aira en mi ciudad. Ha sido una de las más gratas sorpresas que me he llevado este año.

Todo comienza con el narrador, que acaba de cumplir cincuenta años. Digo narrador, porque me siento
...more
Michael Jantz
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In my favorite Aira books, what feels to be happening is Cesar emptying all of his pockets and blindly launching into a narrative about the contents. He does it with a brilliant combination of almost hyperbolic self-deprecation and irreverent confidence. So little actually happens, and he is never loathe in parading this fact about his “stories”. Birthday is among his best. It is a patchwork of brief stories and philosophizing, connected with hilariously reiterated exclamations , sometimes ...more
Deni
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
dice que Osvaldo Lamborghini es un genio
Jim
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am not quite sure whether to classify Birthday as a work of fiction or a kind of intellectual biography of its author, César Aira. In fact, Aira makes a solid case for this being a short intellectual biography of the Argentinian author. Yet, the man is devious enough to embellish the facts to make a good story, which this is.

What distinguishes Aira's fictions from all others is the forward motion of the story even if he leaves characters and events in the lurch. In his Dinner, the dead come
...more
Evan Mac
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
My first time reading Aira, and likely a poor place to start. This memoir is funny, thoughtful and at times hits at something like clarity. Mostly though, it is a breezy walk through the author’s philosophy of knowledge and meaning— which seems like a solid to him, but a vapor to me.

As I am not familiar with Aira’s style, I can’t say whether this particular work is under-baked (giving us the murky philosophical postulates), or if it is over-baked (condensed, sapped of flavor which seems so near
...more
Laura
Es como sentarse a escuchar a Aira decir sus boludeces geniales. Muy interesante. Si fuese de un Nadie, no lo publicarían. Vale la pena porque algunas ideas que condensa son perlas. De paso, se lee en dos horitas y te deja pensando y queriendo subrayar por todas partes.
Matias Vigano
Esto no es una novela, es una declaración sobre por qué escribir y cómo se siente el no poder hacer ninguna otra cosa. Un libro bellísimo que lo muestra a Aira en todo su esplendor.
Steven
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Maybe my favorite of his, he said shortly after reading. Along with Ema, Episode, Nun and Varamo....but this one is less conventional than those, although how conventional is Aira's work anyways.
Adriana
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: argentinos
Una de Aira sin trama ni personajes, 100 páginas de la más pura nada.
Lucía
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una divagación con momentos brillantes.
Digno del campamento de lectura.
Lanzarote, 2018.
Charlie Kruse
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Aira feels to me like an old friend now. Or a writer I follow who posts long tirades about nothing in particular but production of tirades themselves. I love all his books, this one perhaps especially because it is his own reflections on reflecting on his process, the quick asides to think through and around the idea of aging, time and production, and various other miscellaneous concepts. He's a treasure.
Benjamin Wallace
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Birthday by Cesar Aira came out twenty years ago and was recently translated (brilliantly) by Chris Andrews. For Birthday, Aira, for his 50th year of life, wrote about writing, living, dying, and knowing. I loved so many passages of this book. I feel like Aira steps his feet into my soul and reads aloud what I needed to hear, maybe the words on these pages are something else entirely and I have hallucinated the entire story. Knowing that all he knows is not all; this to me encapsulates it ...more
Tom
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
One of Aira's better improvisations, this one a musing on turning 50. (Is this Aira talking or "Aira" talking? Doesn't really matter.) A novella in the form of an essay—Aira is a great BSer, and along with nonsense are liberal sprinklings of insight; at its best the distinction between the two isn't always clear. The essay is on life, what we think we know (or should know by now, already!), and memory. And another worthy translation by Chris Andrews.
Zaira Zepahua
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este señor me cayó re bien, no sé si sea siempre tan él en sus libros, pero planeo averiguarlo.
Lo que más me impactó fue leerme como lectora desde su experiencia. En general no suelo identificarme tanto con los personajes, pero hacerlo con las letras desde este libro y al pensar que no es a través de un filtro sino con el mismo autor, me deja una experiencia (jaja) muy especial.
Gracias, Aira.... (¿será el juego de palabras?)
Eric NYOB
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book? I think not really. An interesting book? Definitely. This might be Aira in a nutshell. The book starts pointlessly and oddly; it continues into boring places and deep places; it terminates at a random point. In the interim, many interesting and funny observations, some drivel, some drudgery. I read what there was of Aira in English and wanted more and decided to make myself able to read Spanish. After this book --- a random starting point --- yes, it was worth it.
Zoli
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book only Cesar Aira could write - 90 pages full of brilliance and greatness, and you have no clue what happened in this tiny little treasure afterwards! It is a long monologue that covers an increadible broad range of topics without dealing with anything in particular. Other than uncertaintly about time, perhaps, as time is one of the main components throughout the book.
In any case, any well-read person should read Cesar Aira - anything by Aira.
Michelle
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
"The lives of strangers have their own rules, which differ from case to case, and anyone who tries to deduce them from a chance meeting is bound to get lost in an ocean of conjectures." (36)

"...it would be like demolishing a bridge I hadn't yet crossed." ( 79)

"If I had to sum it up, I would formulate the problem like this: all my life I pursued knowledge, but I pursued it outside time, and time took its revenge by unfolding elsewhere." (80)
Micah Aaron
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one of those stream-of-consciousness novellas that has no intention of going anywhere and makes that clear up front. There were several passages so drenched in irony that I had to laugh (I’m sure it was Aira’s intention) while other passages I had a hard time following. This type of story is designed to fall victim to its pretentiousness and that certainly did happen here. I rolled my eyes as much as I enjoyed it.
Bianca Jaime
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
3.5. No es malo, para nada. Simplemente no llegué a conectar. Quizás porque venía con lecturas muy "explosivas" al lado de esta. A lo mejor es un libro que necesito tener en mis manos al costado de una pileta con un trago, relajada y lejos de todo drama universitario.

Me quedo con algunas cositas entrañables, con la esperanza de volver a leerlo nuevamente pronto.
Leonardo
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Es malito, no tiene una trama clara y la apuesta narrativa se rompe como en la página 12 cuando te das cuenta que esto no es un libro sino el diario de alguien que no tenía qué publicar... y que alguien publicó sin un mínimo de rigor crítico o respeto por la literatura de verdad. No le pongo una estrella porque el autor ha demostrado en otras obras que es un gran escritor.
nazareno
vale por los últimos dos capítulos (20% del total). el primero de ellos dedicado a evariste galois, y el de cierre, q condensa las ideas sueltas q recorren el libro.

en serie con "cómo me reí" (q me gustó más).
Drew
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A sweet non-novel from Aira, more of a musing on time and life and writing than anything plotty or much resembling many of his works available in English. It’s a nice read for a spring Sunday, to remind a person of their place in the world (in a good way).
Guillermo
El escritor reflexiona en Pringles y escribe durante una semana. No se pone límites.

Pero el capítulo X, sobre la ley de rendimientos decrecientes del artista mejorando su obra, y sobre "la invención de las circunstancias" es de lo mejor que ha escrito. Me encantó.
Arlo
Mar 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pretty much how you'd expect autobigraphical Aira to be. Book is centered around him turning 50.
María Marí
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
De esos libros que no sólo contagian las ganas de escribir sino que de yapa te hacen lamentar todo lo que no escribiste hasta ahora.
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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
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