The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof
by César Aira
Translated from the Spanish 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.”