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Aira is one of the most provocative and idiosyncratic novelists working in Spanish today, and should not be missed.

—Natasha Wimmer, The New York Times

A cerebral and wildly funny story revolving around the incongruity of a gold Rolex watch spotted on a lowly goatherd’s wrist


Fiction by César Aira

translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver

Daily conversations in outdoor cafés with cultured friends can help make reality a little more real. Unfortunately, however, during one such conversation, one man spots a gold Rolex watch on a TV soap opera’s goatherd. This seemingly small absurdity sets off alarms: strange sensations of deception, distress, and incipient madness. The two men’s uneasiness soon becomes a nightmare as the TV adventure advances with a real-life plot — involving a mutant strain of killer algae — to take over the world! Conversations, a reality within a fiction within a parallel reality, is hilariously funny and surprisingly touching.

published June 26th, 2014