Lately I’ve been pushing Cesar Aira on people, which means I’m having a lot of conversations these days about how Americans don’t respect short novels. They’re insubstantial. They offend our sense of value, always measured by the gross poundage we get per dollar. Let’s just go ahead and say it: they feel European, like one of those pathetic little smart cars.
Cesar Aira seems almost designed to refute these culturally wired reactions against the short novel. Yes, his novels can be read quickly, but they’re so intricately crafted and clever in their ambiguity that any good reader will . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Very lengthy interview with Cesar Aira in Letras Libres. Aira is his usual irascible self, with some intereting thoughts on translation:
Quisiera ahora hablar de su papel como un muy buen traductor. Quizá ahí uno se acerca a una seriedad y un rigor…
A una corrección sobre todo. Pero yo siempre a la traducción la tomé como un oficio del que viví. Ahí sí lo vi con todo pragmatismo, hasta tal punto que me especialicé en literatura mala. Porque los editores pagan lo mismo por la mala que por la buena, y la buena es mucho más difícil . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Something I love about Cesar Aira–and a reason why we need more of his books available in translation–is his incredible range. This is they guy who can go from writing an off-kilter-but-clearly-realist novel to creating a Calvino-esque modern fable, and do an above-average job at each. (He's got 80-some more books left, and I'm dying to see them in my local bookstore.)
I just finished Ghosts, which seems to be a sort of extended allegory for the creative process in art. The book is about a half-finished high rise apartment building . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Nice write-up on Cesar Aira, who was speaking at the Book Fair in Guayaquil, Peru.
The piece opens with a typically modest statement from the Argentine author:
“Mientras más grueso es un libro, menos literatura tiene”. La frase fue una de las sentencias del escritor argentino César Aira (1949), durante un conversatorio desarrollado el pasado sábado en el marco de la Feria Internacional del Libro, en Guayaquil. Y el dictamen fue duro, cuestionable para muchos, pero ceñido a las convicciones del narrador no tan popular como otros de su nacionalidad, pero que en una de sus obras, . . . continue reading, and add your comments
With the U.S. release of Cesar Aira's novel Ghosts, it's a good time for an interview. As far as I know, though, no one Stateside has conducted (or at least published) one. But Argentina's La Nacion offers an apparently unrelated interview with the Argentine.
It's an interesting piece. Riht off the bat Aira offers the tidbit that many of Argentina's new presses inaugurate their list with one of his many novels:
-¿Has pensado alguna vez que es muy complicado seguirte? Debe de . . . continue reading, and add your comments
Natasha Wimmer doesn't get too many words for her New York Times review of Ghosts by Cesar Aira, but she does make them count:
Aira likes nothing better than to probe the obscure workings of the mind, but he also writes scenes of great prosaic beauty. The modest, lovely New Year’s Eve party on the roof, complete with firecrackers and piles of fruit (“mosque-shaped apricots, bunches of green and black grapes, . . . bleeding strawberries”), is a velvety backdrop for the novel’s shocking final act.
At one point earlier in the . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The Literary Saloon reports that the NYTBR is finally catching on about Cesar Aira. That's good for them.
And while you wait for them to roll out their review of Aira's recently translated Ghosts, be sure not to miss our review of the same.
You can also read our lengthy essay on Aira, covering among other things his place in Argentine literature, his peculiar method of composition, and . . . continue reading, and add your comments
The Complete Review provides the first review I’ve seen of Ghosts, the newest translation from prodigious Argentine Cesar Aira.
It’s a curious little book (as many of Aira’s are), and we’ll be covering it in the spring issue of The Quarterly Conversation. But for now:
Ghosts is set largely on a construction site, a not-quite-finished apartment building. It begins with the future tenants all coming to have a look on the 31st of December, no one really minding that they can’t quite move in yet. The only residents at this time are the night watchman, Raúl . . . continue reading, and add your comments