The Literary Conference
Do you like innovate, avant-garde fiction polished superfine? Introducing César Aira from Argentina, author of dozens of quirky, quizzical, lyrical novellas and novels, many translated into English, his best known An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter, a surreal yarn of a nineteenth century German artist's travels in Latin America and Ghosts, a tale about a haunted luxury apartment complex in the city of Buenos Aires.
Why haven’t I heard of César Aira before? Perhaps because he takes del ...more
I like weird books. What can I say? I like books of the sort that cause some to roll their eyes and wonder “WTF is this? People read this shit?”—the sorts of books that are hard to place by genre, other than that anti-genre sometimes called Literary Fiction. The ones that frequently provoke one-word reviews: Boring! The sorts of fiction that prompt sneers of ‘book snob’ or, in my case, ‘dilettante’ (it’s cool, I’ve been called worse).
I don’t care so much about the story. I do, of course, care a...more
As the result of pure chance, the narrator -- also called César -- discovers a pirate treasure that makes him fabulously rich. As a combination playwright and mad scientist, he decides to clone the Mexican author C ...more
aira's main character, a translator and playwright, sets about fulfilling his dream of world dominatio ...more
Another spectacular book by César Aira. He's very uneven, but at his best, he has occasionally been the world's best writer. He can outpace conventional narration, magic realism, surrealism, absurdism, and philosophic fiction.
This time I'll zero in on just one quality of his imagination that sets him apart from most other authors. This book begins with a short chapter describing how the author, a certain César, famous writer and "mad sc ...more
Allow me to elaborate:
In the first section, “The Macuto Line,” ...more
Sometimes I'm unsatisfied with autho ...more
This was a strange reading experience. As far as narrative goes, this one has very little, and that is really saying something since the book is only 90 pages long. But in a metaficitonal way, the book is fine with that.
You see, this book is alive in a way. It goes off on tangents and refers to 'tra ...more
When I first read Haruki Murakami years ago, I think I was looking for something closer to Aira. His steadfast commitment to the "flight forward" technique (it is impossible to read without thinking about this technique: ideas are raised & then dropped abruptly for new directions, revisited only to launch new tangents) and to brevity (superco ...more
For me, the true pleasure of this little romp comes in the final 30 pages or so. Theme and action intertwine so cleanly for such a convoluted seeming work. The nature of creation and revision, the relationship of creators to their critics...it’s explored in an insane way. Novel and insane.
Fun read. 4.5
I wonder what else from Aira is worth a look.
This is a comic, its fantasy, its a hilarious origin story of a maybe super villain and along the way, the narrator, Cesar, talks about metaphysical stuff.
Oh, world domination is Cesar's primary goal but that doesn't deter him from the literary conference.
It's immensely entertaining. I still laugh out loud just thinking about the outlandishness of this little novel.
i love this book so ...more
At least this novella feels like it has that kind of improvisational feel. It's a personalized fantasy about the power of the imagination-- translator, occas ...more
Aira plays the part of the main character as a mad genius, a scientist and writer propelled by the unchecked force of his imagination; a John Cleese playing a mad scien ...more
Read on this level, the book is an amusing little romp -- very funny, like a comic science fiction novel. But on another level, the book is ...more
Aira always seems to be playing, and this time the game is an examination of writing clichés. I'd read this a few years ago and enjoyed most of it. Since then, I've grown in my trust of and appreciation for his cleverness. Yes, he will spend some time in vague and weird metaphysical discussion. He does that. But the sto ...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