June #BrazosBest: César Aira

Article by mark

To read any one of Argentine writer César Aira’s highly imaginative and compact novels is to subject oneself to the whims of an authentic mind, a writer who appears to make it up as he goes along. Indeed, I’ve often described Aira as a children’s writer for adults. And that’s no criticism.

What do I mean exactly? I mean that he follows that most cardinal and innocent of urges: to make something up. It’s a simple edict. But César Aira is no simple writer. His latest is a two-for-one: two novellas in a single volume. And these small novels, indicative of Aira, couldn't be more different.

The first one, THE LITTLE BUDDHIST MONK, is the story of a Korean Buddhist monk who dreams of living in the West. Enter a pair of French tourists to hopefully make his dreams come true. As with all of Aira's stories, there are flights of fancy, sideways humor and a complete disregard for cause and effect. As the story progresses a sort of dream logic takes over and the reader feels as if they're flying over the Korean countryside.

The second story, THE PROOF, is an edgy, urban tale centered in Buenos Aires. Young Maria is confronted with two punk rock lesbians who decide to hold up a supermarket and quickly the tale turns into something out of a Quentin Tarantino film. Despite their surface differences, these novellas are fast-paced and fun. Both share themes of identity, social class and the power of dreams.

If you haven't read César Aira before, this is an ideal place to start!

The Little Buddhist Monk & the Proof Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Nick Caistor (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811221122
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - May 30th, 2017

Ema the Captive Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811219105
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - December 6th, 2016

The Musical Brain: And Other Stories Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
$29.95
ISBN: 9780811220293
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - March 3rd, 2015

Shantytown Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
$13.95
ISBN: 9780811219112
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - November 20th, 2013

Ghosts Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator)
$13.95
ISBN: 9780811217422
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - February 2009

An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Chris Andrews (Translator), Roberto Bolano (Preface by)
$12.95
ISBN: 9780811216302
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - May 25th, 2006

Conversations Cover Image
By Cesar Aira, Katherine Silver (Translator)
$13.95
ISBN: 9780811221108
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - June 26th, 2014

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