Chris Andrews

Chris Andrews was born in Newcastle, Australia, in 1962. He studied at the University of Melbourne and taught there, in the French program, from 1995 to 2008. He is now teaching at the University of Western Sydney, where he is a member of the Writing and Society Research Center. As well as translating books by Roberto Bolaño and César Aira for New Directions, he has published a critical study (Poetry and Cosmogony: Science in the Writing of Queneau and Ponge, Rodopi, 1999) and a collection of poems (Cut Lunch, Indigo, 2002).

Birthday

Fiction by César Aira

Translated by Chris Andrews

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—and yet that birthday came and went without much ado.…
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The Linden Tree

Fiction by César Aira

Translated from the Spanish 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.…
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Ema, the Captive

Fiction by César Aira

Translated from the Spanish 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.…
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The Secret of Evil

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews Natasha Wimmer

Opening this book is like being granted access to the Chilean master’s personal files. Included in this one-of-a-kind collection is everything Roberto Bolaño was working on just before his death in 2003, and everything that he wanted to share with his readers. Fans of his writing will find familiar characters in new settings, and entirely new stories and styles, too. A North American journalist in Paris is woken at 4 a.…
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Shantytown

Fiction by César Aira

Translated from the Spanish 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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Varamo

Fiction by César Aira

Translated from the Spanish 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.…
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The Insufferable Gaucho

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

As Pankaj Mishra remarked in The Nation, one of the remarkable qualities of Bolaño’s short stories is that they can do the “work of a novel.” The Insufferable Gaucho contains tales bent on returning to haunt you. Unpredictable and daring, highly controlled yet somehow haywire, a Bolaño story might concern an elusive plagiarist or an elderly lawyer giving up city life for an improbable return to the family estate, now gone to wrack and ruin.…
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The Return

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

As Pankaj Mishra remarked in The Nation, one of the remarkable qualities of Bolaño’s short stories is that they can do the “work of a novel.” The Return contains thirteen unforgettable stories bent on returning to haunt you. Wide-ranging, suggestive, and daring, a Bolaño story might concern the unexpected fate of a beautiful ex-girlfriend or a dream of meeting Enrique Lihn: his plots go anywhere and everywhere and they always surprise.…
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Monsieur Pain

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

Paris, 1938. The Peruvian poet César Vallejo is in the hospital, afflicted with an undiagnosed illness, and unable to stop hiccuping. His wife calls on an acquaintance of her friend Madame Reynaud: the Mesmerist Pierre Pain. Pain, a timid bachelor, is in love with the widow Reynaud, and agrees to help. But two mysterious Spanish men follow Pain and bribe him not to treat Vallejo, and Pain takes the money. Ravaged by guilt and anxiety, however, he does not intend to abandon his new patient, but then Pain’s access to the hospital is barred and Madame Reynaud leaves Paris….…
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Nazi Literature in the Americas

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

Nazi Literature in the Americas was the first of Roberto Bolaño’s books to reach a wide public. When it was published by Seix Barral in 1996, critics in Spain were quick to recognize the arrival of an important new talent. The book presents itself as a biographical dictionary of American writers who flirted with or espoused extreme right-wing ideologies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It is a tour de force of black humor and imaginary erudition.…
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Ghosts

Fiction by César Aira

Translated from the Spanish 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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Amulet

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

Amulet is a monologue, like Bolaño’s acclaimed debut in English, By Night in Chile. The speaker is Auxilio Lacouture, a Uruguayan woman who moved to Mexico in the 1960s, becoming the “Mother of Mexican Poetry,” hanging out with the young poets in the cafés and bars of the University. She’s tall, thin, and blonde, and her favorite young poet in the 1970s is none other than Arturo Belano (Bolaño’s fictional stand-in throughout his books).…
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How I Became a Nun

Fiction by César Aira

Translated from the Spanish 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.…
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An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter

Fiction by César Aira

Translated from the Spanish 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.…
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Distant Star

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

The star of Roberto Bolaño’s hair-raising novel Distant Star is Alberto Ruiz-Tagle, an air force pilot who exploits the 1973 coup to launch his own version of the New Chilean Poetry, a multi-media enterprise involving sky-writing, poetry, torture, and photo exhibitions. For our unnamed narrator, who first encounters this “star” in a college poetry workshop, Ruiz-Tagle becomes the silent hand behind every evil act in the darkness of Pinochet’s regime. The narrator, unable to stop himself, tries to track Ruiz-Tagle down, and see signs of his activity over and over again.…
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By Night in Chile

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

By Night in Chile’s single night-long rant provides—as through a crack in the wall—a terrifying, clandestine view of the strange bedfellows of Church and State in Chile. This wild, eerily compact novel—Roberto Bolaño’s first work available in English––recounts the tale of a poor boy who wanted to be a poet, but ends up a Jesuit priest and a conservative literary critic, a lap dog to Chile’s rich and powerful cultural elite, by whose favors he meets Pablo Neruda and Ernst Jünger.…
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The Skating Rink

Fiction by Roberto Bolaño

Translated from the Spanish by Chris Andrews

Set in the seaside town of Z, on the Costa Brava, north of Barcelona, The Skating Rink oscillates between two poles: a camp ground and a ruined mansion, the Palacio Benvingut. The story, told by three male narrators, revolves around a beautiful figure skating champion, Nuria Martí. When she is suddenly dropped from the Olympic team, a pompous but besotted civil servant secretly builds a skating rink in the ruined Palacio Benvingut, using public funds.…
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Chris Andrews has played a key role in bringing one of the Spanish language’s major 20th-century voices to American readers.

—Scott Bryan Wilson , The Quarterly Conversation

Ghost’s aesthetic delights are captured with delicate precision by the translator Chris Andrews.

—Natasha Wimmer, New York Times Sunday Book Review
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