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Aira will put knots in your brain.

—Ben Raitliff, The New York Times Book Review

Was it a nightmare–the result of bad indigestion–or did something truly scary happen after dinner in the Argentine town of Coronel Pringles?


Fiction by César Aira

translated from the Spanish by Katherine Silver

One Saturday night a bankrupt bachelor in his sixties and his mother dine with a wealthy friend. They discuss their endlessly connected neighbors. They talk about a mysterious pit that opened up one day, and the old bricklayer who sometimes walked to the cemetery to cheer himself up. Anxious to show off his valuable antiques, the host shows his guests old windup toys and takes them to admire an enormous doll. Back at home, the bachelor decides to watch some late night TV before retiring. The news quickly takes a turn for the worse as, horrified, the newscaster finds herself reporting about the dead rising from their graves, leaving the cemetery, and sucking the blood of the living—all somehow disturbingly reminiscent of the dinner party.

published October 6th, 2015