Digesting an Aira novel is thus somewhat akin to trying to hold an eel while watching a David Lynch film on a VR headset…and if you’re willing to just lie back, giggle a bit, and enjoy the ride, then you’re in the right headspace for an Aira novel.

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César Aira

César Aira was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina in 1949, and has lived in Buenos Aires since 1967. He taught at the University of Buenos Aires (about Copi and Rimbaud) and at the University of Rosario (Constructivism and Mallarmé), and has translated and edited books from France, England, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, and Venezuela. Perhaps one of the most prolific writers in Argentina, and certainly one of the most talked about in Latin America, Aira has published more than 100 books to date in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, and Spain, which have been translated for France, Great Britain, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Romania, Russia, and the United States. One novel, La prueba, has been made into a feature film, and How I Became a Nun was chosen as one of Argentina’s ten best books. Besides essays and novels Aira writes regularly for the Spanish newspaper El País. In addition to winning the 2021 Formentor Prize, he has received a Guggenheim scholarship, and was shortlisted for the Rómulo Gallegos prize and the Booker International Prize.

cover image of the book Festival & Game of the Worlds

Festival & Game of the Worlds

In Festival, the genius postmodern sci-fi filmmaker Alec Steryx is the star guest of a film festival in an unnamed country. But he’s brought a surprise: his nonagenarian mother. Everyone is baffled. Why? Half-blind and terminally cranky, she does nothing but complain, despite insisting on attending every screening and reception. As Steryx’s mother gums up the works for the festival organizers, larger problems are in store … A delightfully baroque comedy of errors, Festival is, all at once, a loving parody of the institutions that support artists, a meditation on postmodern art, and a propulsive, lyrical, surreal adventure.

In the far, far future, a middle-aged father is behind the times. Bemused and disturbed, he watches his children play the eponymous Game of the Worlds, a Total Reality war game that involves the annihilation of countless alien civilizations—which are at least as real as the narrator’s own. As he debates the ethics of the game, struggles with his home’s “intelligent system,” and fumblingly manipulates his Discourse Corrector (a dead ringer for ChatGPT) on virtual beachside dates, an errant thought threatens to set a world-ending chain of logic into motion: the return of the Idea of God … Epic and domestic, madcap and musing by turns, this prescient novel reads like a message in a bottle from a bewitchingly strange yet all-too-familiar future.

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cover image of the book Fulgentius

Fulgentius

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

By profession I am a soldier, a general in the glorious Roman army. As a playwright, I think of myself as a sublime amateur.

In César Aira’s new novel, Fulgentius, a sixty-seven-year-old imperial Roman general—“Rome’s most illustrious and experienced”—is sent to pacify the remote province of Pannonia. He is a thoughtful, introspective person, a saturnine intellectual who greatly enjoys being on the march away from his loving family, and the sometimes deadly intrigues of Rome. Fulgentius is also a playwright (though of exactly one play) and in every city he pacifies, he stages a grand production of his farcical tragedy (written at the tender age of twelve) about a man who becomes a famous general only to be murdered “at the hands of shadowy foreigners.” Curiously, what he had imagined as a child turns out to be the story of his life, almost. As the playwright-turned-general broods obsessively about his only work, the magnificent Lupine Legion—“a city in movement” of 6,000 men, an invincible corps of seasoned fighters wearing their signature wolfskin caps—kills, burns, pillages, and loots their way to victory. But what does victory mean?

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cover image of the book The Famous Magician

The Famous Magician

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

A certain writer (“past sixty, enjoying ‘a certain renown’”) strolls through the old book market in a Buenos Aires park: “My Sunday walk through the market, repeated over so many years, was part of my general fantasizing about books.” Unfortunately, he is suffering from writer’s block. However, that proves to be the least of our hero’s problems. In the market, he fails to avoid the insufferable boor Ovando—“a complete loser” but a “man supremely full of himself: Conceit was never less justified.” And yet, is Ovando a master magician? Can he turn sugar cubes into pure gold? And can our protagonist decline the offer Ovando proposes granting him absolute power if the writer never in his life reads another book? And is his publisher also a great magician? And the writer’s wife?

Only César Aira could have cooked up this witch’s potion (and only he would plop in phantom Mont Blanc pens as well as fearsome crocodiles from the banks of the Nile)—a brew bubbling over with the question: where does literature end and magic begin?

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cover image of the book The Divorce

The Divorce

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

With a contribution by Patti Smith

The Divorce tells about a recently divorced man on vacation in Buenos Aires. One afternoon he encounters a series of the most magical coincidences. While sitting at an outdoor café, absorbed in conversation with a talented video artist, he sees a young man riding by on a bicycle get thoroughly drenched by a downpour of water—seemingly from rain caught the night before in the overhead awning. The video artist knows the cyclist, who knew a mad hermetic sculptor whose family used to take the Hindu God Krishna for walks in the neighborhood. As the coincidences continue to add up, the stories concerning each new connection weave reality with the absurd until they reach a final, brilliant, cataclysmic ending.

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cover image of the book Artforum

Artforum

Artforum is certainly one of César Aira’s most charming, quirky, and funny books to date. Consisting of a series of interrelated stories about his compulsion to collect Artforum magazines, this is not about art so much as it is about passionate obsession.

At first we follow our hapless collector from magazine shops to used bookstores hunting for copies of Artforum. A friend alerts him to a copy somewhere and he obsesses about actually going to get it—will the shop be open, will the copy already be sold? Finally he takes out a subscription, but then it never comes, so he hounds the mailman. There’s the day his stash of Artforums gets rained on, but only one absorbs the water. And interspersed is a wacky chapter about the mystery of the broken clothespins. “How weird.” “How crazy.”

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cover image of the book Birthday

Birthday

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

Before you know it you are no longer young, and by the way, while you were thinking about other things, the world was changing—and then, just as suddenly you realize that 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—but the birthday came and went without much ado. It was only months later, while having a somewhat banal conversation with his wife about the phases of the moon, that he realized how little he really knows about his life. In Birthday Aira searches for the events that were significant to him during his first fifty years. Between anecdotes ,and memories, the author ponders the origins of his personal truths, and meditates on literature meant as much for the writer as for the reader, on ignorance, knowledge, and death. Finally, Birthday is a little sad, in a serene, crystal-clear kind of way, which makes it even more irresistible.

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cover image of the book The Linden Tree

The Linden Tree

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

A delightful fictional memoir about César Aira’s small hometown. The narrator, born the same year and now living in the same great city (Buenos Aires) as César Aira, could be the author himself. Beginning with his parents—an enigmatic handsome black father who gathered linden flowers for his sleep-inducing tea and an irrational, crippled mother of European descent—the narrator catalogs memories of his childhood: his friends, his peculiar first job, his many gossiping neighbors, and the landscape and architecture of the provinces. The Linden Tree beautifully brings back to life that period in Argentina when the poor, under the guiding hand of Eva Perón, aspired to a newly created middle class.

As it moves from anecdote to anecdote, this charming short novella—touching, funny, and sometimes surreal—invites the reader to visit the source of Aira’s extraordinary imagination.

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cover image of the book The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof

The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof

by César Aira

Translated by Nick Caistor

The Little Buddhist Monk is a story of Asian invention gone wild, as a diminutive Korean Buddhist monk acts as a tour guide to an increasingly distraught French couple on a working vacation in the Far East.

The Proof brings us quickly back to the West, where two punks, plus a new recruit (“Wannafuck?”is the opening line as the two punk lesbians accost the chubby and shy Marcia on a quiet street in Buenos Aires), take control of a local supermarket with dire consequences for the hostages. These two fast-paced, edgy works are as different as night and day. Nevertheless—as well as sex, identity, and modern-day economics figuring deeply in both—deep currents connect the two novellas: our little Buddhist monk remarks, “I told you it was easy. When something is easy, it is completely easy. But no one believes it. Not even the proof convinces them.”

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cover image of the book Ema, the Captive

Ema, the Captive

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

In nineteenth-century Argentina, Ema, a delicate woman of indeterminate origins, is captured by soldiers and taken, along with her newborn babe, to live as a concubine in a crude fort on the very edges of civilization. The trip is appalling (deprivations and rapes prevail along the way), yet the real story commences once Ema arrives at the fort. There she takes on a succession of lovers among the soldiers and Indians, before launching a grand and brave business— an enterprise never before conceived—there in the wilds. As is usual with Aira’s work, the wonder if Ema, The Captive emanates from the wonderful details of customs, beauty, and language, and the curious, perplexing reality of human nature.

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cover image of the book Dinner

Dinner

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.

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cover image of the book Conversations

Conversations

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.

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cover image of the book Shantytown

Shantytown

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

Maxi — a middle-class, directionless ox of a young man who helps the trash pickers of Buenos Aires’s shantytown — attracts the attention of a corrupt, trigger-happy policeman who will use anyone (including two innocent teenage girls) to break a drug ring that he believes is operating within the slum. A strange new drug, a secret code within a carousel of pirated lights, the kindness of strangers, murder. . . . No matter how serious the subject matter, and despite Aira’s “fascination with urban violence and the sinister underside of Latin American politics” (The Millions), Shantytown, like all of Aira’s mesmerizing work, is filled with wonder and mad invention.

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cover image of the book The Hare

The Hare

by César Aira

Translated by Nick Caistor

Clarke is a nineteenth-century English naturalist who roams the pampas in search of an elusive animal: the Legibrerian hare, whose defining quality seems to be its ability to fly. The local tribesmen, pointing skyward, tell him about recent sightings of the hare, but then they ask Clarke to help them search for their missing chief, as well. On further investigation Clarke finds more than meets the eye: in the Mapuche and Voroga languages every word has at least two meanings.

Witty, very ironic, and with all the usual Airian digressive magic, The Hare offers subtle reflections on love, Victorian-era colonialism, and the many ambiguities of language.

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cover image of the book The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira

The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira

Dr. Aira is not a conventional doctor. He has a very special gift for miracles, at least in theory. This has not deterred his archenemy, Dr. Actyn, who is trying to prove that Dr. Aira is a charlatan. When the ever wary Dr. Aira is finally called upon to put his theories into practice and use his healing powers to actually cure a hopelessly sick man, César Aira — the authoritative writer — shows us the truth about miracles in this delightfully awesome book.

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cover image of the book Varamo

Varamo

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

Like so many of César Aira’s mesmerizing novels, Varamo springs from a deceptively simple mishap that enables the argentine author to take on some of life’s most intriguing questions through his trademark allegorical wit and humor. Here the titular narrator is a hapless Panamanian government worker who, after being paid with counterfeit money, wanders around the city all night as he frets about what to do next. But that long, odd night also becomes a font of inspiration, and Varamo soon writes what will become the most celebrated masterwork of modern Central American poetry, “The Song of the Virgin Boy.” And even more impressive is the fact that Varamo, at fifty years old, “hadn’t previously written one sole verse, nor had it ever occurred to him to write one.” As he does so well, Aira uses Varamo’s story of overnight success and fame to investigate what it means to be a poet, to be inspired, to be touched by genius. And from yet another viewpoint, he explores what it is that drives readers and critics to construct historical, national, psychological, and aesthetic contexts for works of art.

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cover image of the book The Seamstress and the Wind

The Seamstress and the Wind

by César Aira

Translated by Rosalie Knecht

The Seamstress and the Wind is a deliciously laugh-out-loud-funny novel. A seamstress who is sewing a wedding dress for the pregnant local art teacher fears that her son, while playing in a big semitruck, has been accidentally kidnapped and driven off to Patagonia. Completely unhinged, she calls a local taxi to follow the semi in hot pursuit. When her husband finds out what’s happened, he takes off after wife and child. They race not only to the end of the world, but to adventures in desire – where the wild Southern wind falls in love with the seamstress, and a monster child takes up with the truck driver. Interspersed are Aira’s musings about memory and childhood, and his hometown of Coronel Pringles, with a compelling view of the hard lot of this working-class town, situated not far from Buenos Aires.

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cover image of the book The Literary Conference

The Literary Conference

César is a translator who’s fallen on very hard times due to the global economic downturn; he is also an author, and a mad scientist hell-bent on world domination. On a visit to the beach he intuitively solves an ancient riddle, finds a pirate’s treasure, and becomes a very wealthy man. Even so, César’s bid for world domination comes first and so he attends a literary conference to be near the man whose clone he hopes will lead an army to victory: the world-renowned Mexican author, Carlos Fuentes. A comic science fiction fantasy of the first order, The Literary Conference is the perfect vehicle for César Aira’s takeover of literature in the 21st century.

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cover image of the book Ghosts

Ghosts

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

Ghosts is about a construction worker’s family squatting on a building site. They all see large and handsome ghosts around their quarters, but the teenage daughter is the most curious. Her questions about them become more and more heartfelt until the story reaches a critical, chilling moment when the mother realizes that her daughter’s life hangs in the balance.

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cover image of the book How I Became a Nun

How I Became a Nun

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

“My story, the story of ’how I became a nun,’ began very early in my life; I had just turned six. The beginning is marked by a vivid memory, which I can reconstruct down to the last detail. Before, there is nothing, and after, everything is an extension of the same vivid memory, continuous and unbroken, including the intervals of sleep, up to the point where I took the veil….” So starts César Aira’s astounding “autobiographical” novel. Intense and perfect, this invented narrative of childhood experience bristles with dramatic humor at each stage of growing up: a first ice cream, school, reading, games, friendship. The novel begins in Aira’s hometown, Coronel Pringles. As self-awareness grows, the story rushes forward in a torrent of anecdotes which transform a world of uneventful happiness into something else : the anecdote becomes adventure, and adventure, fable, and then legend. Between memory and oblivion, reality and fiction, César Aira’s How I Became a Nun retains childhood’s main treasures: the reality of fable and the delirium of invention. A few days after his fiftieth birthday, César Aira (b. 1949, Argentina) noticed the thin rim of the moon, visible despite the rising sun. When his wife explained the phenomenon to him he was shocked that for fifty years he had known nothing about “something so obvious, so visible.” This epiphany led him to write How I Became a Nun. With a subtle and melancholic sense of humor he reflects on his failures, on the meaning of life and the importance of literature.

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cover image of the book An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter

An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter

by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

With a contribution by Roberto Bolaño

An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter is the story of a moment in the life of the German artist Johan Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858). Greatly admired as a master landscape painter, he was advised by Alexander von Humboldt to travel West from Europe to record the spectacular landscapes of Chile, Argentina, and Mexico. Rugendas did in fact become one of the best of the nineteenth-century European painters to venture into Latin America. However this is not a biography of Rugendas. This work of fiction weaves an almost surreal history around the secret objective behind Rugendas’ trips to America: to visit Argentina in order to achieve in art the “physiognomic totality” of von Humboldt’s scientific vision of the whole. Rugendas is convinced that only in the mysterious vastness of the immense plains will he find true inspiration. A brief and dramatic visit to Mendoza gives him the chance to fulfill his dream. From there he travels straight out onto the pampas, praying for that impossible moment, which would come only at an immense price—an almost monstrously exorbitant price—that would ultimately challenge his drawing and force him to create a new way of making art. A strange episode that he could not avoid absorbing savagely into his own body interrupts the trip and irreversibly and explosively marks him for life.

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cover image of the book Ten

Ten

by Juan Emar

Translated by Megan McDowell

With a contribution by César Aira

A taxidermied parrot, insulted by a stodgy uncle, comes violently alive and batters the poor fool to death with its beak. A terrible tyrant, Zar Palemón, presides over grotesque ritualized sex acts in his court—which is itself contained in a demonic gemstone the size of a fist. And deep in the Andes, in a hidden cave, an unremarkable house cat waits to trap its hapless victim with a Gorgon’s gaze and engage him in a staring contest on which the fate of the cosmos just might depend.

Such are a few of the bizarre adventures found within Juan Emar’s mindbending collection of short stories, Ten. Allegory? Parody? Horror? Surrealism? Yes to all, and none of the above: where lesser writers mark their endpoint, the unclassifiable Juan Emar jumps off, straight into the deep end. Life is far from still in Emar’s world, where statues come alive, gaseous vampires stalk, and our hopes and fears materialize in a web of shocking interconnections unified by twisted logic and crystalline prose.

Now, Ten is available in English for the first time, deftly translated by Megan McDowell and with an introduction by César Aira, who writes: “Emar has neither precedents nor equals; his echoes and affinities—Lautréamont, Macedonio Fernández, Gombrowicz—flow from his readers’ own inclinations.” Byzantine and vivid, intricate and bizarre, this quiver of shorts by Chile’s most idiosyncratic mad genius of literature will leave readers astounded for decades to come.

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Digesting an Aira novel is thus somewhat akin to trying to hold an eel while watching a David Lynch film on a VR headset…and if you’re willing to just lie back, giggle a bit, and enjoy the ride, then you’re in the right headspace for an Aira novel.

Ancillary Review of Books

Aira’s short books are the literary equivalent of a Périgord black truffle — small, rich delicacies worth savoring and contemplating.

Polygon

Aira’s stories seem like fragments of an infinite and interconnected universe in constant expansion.

Patti Smith

Never tedious, always thoughtful, Aira’s prose moves with great agility and effortless depth.

Publishers Weekly

A writer’s future hangs in the balance when he is tempted by an “unexpected Mephistopheles” in Aira’s playful, self-reflexive latest…the story’s driving question of choosing a meaningful course for one’s life is timeless.

Publishers Weekly

Artforum, the newest work by César Aira to be published in the U.S., is one of the most fascinating experiences in modern literature. A novel that synthesizes surrealism, pseudo-memoir, philosophy, and theater into the compact space of eighty-two pages, it somehow still retains the fluttery and playful tone that makes this book so enjoyable to read.

Rain Taxi

Sui generis is really the only way to accurately describe César Aira. He’s by turns a realist, a magical realist and a surrealist — and therefore not really any of them. Anything can happen in an Aira novel, and almost everything does.

Tyler Malone, Los Angeles Times

A marvelous little collection about compulsion, obsession, and the extraordinary joy that a simple pleasure can bring.

Kirkus Reviews

As Aira illuminates the dead ends in his drive to collect the magazine, he offers rich insight into the appreciation of art and the desire to possess. This entertaining jaunt through the writer’s creative development satisfies with brevity and grace.

Publishers Weekly

Aira’s cubist eye sees from every angle.

Patti Smith, New York Times Book Review

César Aira is writing a gigantic, headlong, acrobatic fresco of modern life entirely made up of novelettes, novellas, novelitas. In other words, he is a great literary trickster, and also one of the most charming.

Adam Thirlwell

Once you’ve started reading Aira, you don’t want to stop.

Aira, Roberto Bolaño

Aira’s cubist eye sees from every angle.

Patti Smith, New York Times Book Review

I can think of no other writer as concerned with formal and thematic questions of pace (not of time, but of the various speeds at which we feel time pacing): not only are the individual books quick-moving, but he’s published over a hundred of them, with no signs of slowing down.

Steven Zultanski, Frieze

The book begins with an anecdote about a conversation the author had with his wife, in which it’s revealed that he doesn’t understand what causes the phases of the moon. This revelation of ignorance quickly cascades into a series of reflections on not-knowing, and on the reciprocal relationship between the swiftness of time, which ensures that we can’t know everything, and our discontinuous experience of time, which make knowledge feel as disjointed as memory.

Frieze

A gentle semi-autobiographical novel about the author’s childhood in Coronel Pringles, Argentina; the book recalls Peronism and the invention of a provincial middle class, juxtaposing portraits of eccentric neighbours with meditations on how complex social reality is refracted through a child’s eyes.

Frieze

You’ve probably already heard how awesome Aira is, and how everyone should read at least one of his many, many books.

Literary Hub

New novellas from Aira are always a cause for celebration.

Brian Evenson, Big Other

With many prolific writers it’s a case of diminishing returns. César Aira, who’s published over eighty books with more to come, is an exception, his open-ended, genre trespassing novellas attesting to his peculiar virtuosity.

John Madera, Big Other

Aira’s crossings (of temporality, genre, aesthetic language) are always surprising, captivating; they make us seek out formulas to describe their effects. Critics try to do so constantly. But Aira is always moving on to some other place, safe from any category.

4Columns

South America’s answer to Haruki Murakami.

Andrew Irvin, The Miami Harold

Uncanny imagination à la Calvino.

Laura Pearson, The Chicago Tribune

Irreverent inventiveness … without analogue in contemporary literature.

Megan Doll, The San Francisco Chronicle

César Aira is wild. The laws of gravity do not apply.

James S. A. Correy, The Denver Post

Aira’s literature is but a parody of inventiveness, and at its core is an amazing degree of penetrating and unrelenting critical reflexivity.

Nicolás Guagnini, Artforum

His novels are eccentric clones of reality, where the lights are brighter, the picture is sharper and everything happens at the speed of thought…. You don’t know where you are or what you are looking at, but the air is full of electricity.

The Millions

Aira will put knots in your brain.

Ben Raitliff, The New York Times Book Review

Everything in Aira has that Mad Scientist feel to it.

The Millions

Aira’s works are like slim cabinets of wonder, full of unlikely juxtapositions. His unpredictability is masterful.

Rivka Galchen, Harper's

César Aira is an exquisite miniaturist who toys with avant-garde techniques.

The Wall Street Journal

Outlandish B-movie fantasies are all part of the game. His best-known works are nonsensically hysterical.

Marcela Valdes, NPR Books

I get so absorbed by an Aira novel that upon finishing I don’t remember anything. It’s like having a complex cinematic dream that dissipates upon awakening.

Patti Smith

A strange and arresting novel. Aira is firmly in the tradition of Borges and W.G. Sebald, those great late modernists for whom fiction was a theater of ideas.

Mark Doty, Los Angeles Times

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

To love the novels of César Aira you must have a taste for the absurd, a tolerance for the obscurely philosophical, and a willingness to laugh out loud against your better judgment.

Marcela Valdes, NPR Reviews

Aira’s literary significance, like that of many other science fiction writers, comes from how he pushes us to question the porous line between fact and fantasy, to see it not only as malleable in history, but also blurred in the everyday. The engrossing power of his work, though, comes from how he carries out these feats: with the inexhaustible energy and pleasure of a child chasing after imaginary enemies in the park.

Los Angeles Review of Books

Aira’s refusal to make any occurrence definitive gives the world depicted in the novel an element of the absurd. The result can be as frustrating as it is liberating. Whether or not Clarke ultimately catches sight of the hare is beside the point. Even if he found it, we’d soon discover that, maybe, after all, he didn’t. Or that it wasn’t a hare at all.

The Daily Beast

César Aira’s novels are the narrative equivalent of the Exquisite Corpse, that Surrealist parlor game in which players add to drawings or stories without knowledge of previous or subsequent additions. Wildly heterogeneous elements are thrown together, and the final result never fails to surprise and amuse.

The Millions

It works as a piece of art whose fresh, gorgeous images carry rich meanings about the nature of transformation. But it also works as a story that makes you miss your subway stop.

Electric Literature

[Aira’s works are] dense, unpredictable confections delivered in a plain, stealthily lyrical style capable of accommodating his fondness for mixing metaphysics, realism, pulp fiction, and Dadaist incongruities.

Michael Greenberg, The New York Review of Books

Each element Aira draws our attention to is placed into sharp focus before being discussed in short, entertaining digressions.

The National

In plain but meandering prose, Aira winds his off-kilter narrative into a metafictional loop in which Varamo, who has never written before, accidentally crafts a literary masterpiece.

Critical Mob

Aira’s humorous writing style is absurd yet always ironic, simple in logic yet increasingly mystifying in message.

The Harvard Crimson

…a sprint through multiple bizarre situations, a few philosophical digressions, a charming light-heartedness, and exquisite sentences.

The Rumpus

An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter’s mere 87 pages are so multi-faceted and transporting and I get so absorbed that upon finishing I don’t remember anything. Like having a complex cinematic dream that dissipates upon awakening.

Patti Smith, The New York Times Book Review

Aira is a manifestly gifted writer who may find writing all too easy a job.

Quarterly Conversation

If there is one contemporary writer who defies classification, it is César Aira.

Roberto Bolaño

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

I was in the mood for a small and playful read. Whenever this happens, I go to the César Aira section of the library and grab whatever’s there; he’s written more than a 100 novels, last I checked, and I’ve never read one that’s anything less than genius.

Vauhini Vara, The Millions
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