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.”
New novellas from Aira are always a cause for celebration.
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
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.