Cesar Aira Interview

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 ser muy difícil que te encuentres con
alguien que haya leído tu obra completa, ¿no?

-Hay algunos que han tomado esa actitud un poco de coleccionista. Yo he
editado en muchísimas editoriales. En la Argentina han proliferado
estos últimos años pequeñas editoriales independientes que son mi
terreno de juegos, mi playground
favorito. Prefiero publicar con estos pequeños editores que suelen ser
gente joven; algunas editoriales son unipersonales. Hoy en día los
medios técnicos permiten hacer un libro con cierta facilidad, y toda
editorial nueva que aparece en Buenos Aires o alrededores se inaugura
con un libro mío, porque yo siempre estoy disponible. Me encanta porque
me da una gran libertad.

Of course, in Aira's case this is more than just something he does. As Marcelo Ballve remarked in his essay on Aira, publishing rapidly and widely is aprt of the author's method:

According to Aira, he never edits his own work, nor does he plan
ahead of time how his novels will end, or even what twists and turns
they will take in the next writing session. He is loyal to his idea
that making art is above all a question of procedure. The artist’s
role, Aira says, is to invent procedures (experiments) by which art can
be made. Whether he executes these or not is secondary; Aira’s business
is the plan, not necessarily the result. Why is procedure
all-important? Because it is relevant beyond the individual creator.
Anyone can use it.

Aira’s procedure, which he has elucidated in essays and interviews, is what he calls el continuo, or la huida hacia adelante.
These concepts might be translated into English as “the continuum,” and
a “constant flight forward.” Editing is an abhorrent idea in the
context of Aira’s continuum. To edit oneself would be to retrace one’s
steps, go backwards, when the idea is to always move forward. To judge
yesterday’s writing session, to censor a lapse into the absurd or the
irrational, to revive a character your work-in-progress sent tumbling
over a cliff—all of these actions go against Aira’s procedure. Instead,
the system prioritizes an ethic of creative self-affirmation and, I
would say, optimism.

Later on in the interview, there's this exchange:

-La crítica te ha puesto el mote de escritor "raro"?

-¿Qué escritor no es raro?

I'd have to say they're both right.

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