César Aira

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César Aira
Cesar Aira Wikipedia.jpg
Born (1949-02-23) 23 February 1949 (age 66)
Coronel Pringles, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
Occupation Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist

César Aira (Argentine Spanish: [ˈse.saɾ ˈai.ɾa];[1] born on 23 February 1949 in Coronel Pringles, Buenos Aires Province) is an Argentine writer and translator, and an exponent of Argentine contemporary literature. Aira has published over eighty short books of stories, novels and essays. In fact, at least since 1993 a hallmark of his work is an almost frenetic level of writing and publication—two to four novella-length books each year.[2] He has lectured at the University of Buenos Aires, on Copi and Arthur Rimbaud, and at the University of Rosario on Constructivism and Stéphane Mallarmé, and has translated and edited books from France, England, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, and Venezuela.[3]

His work[edit]

Besides his fiction, and the translation work he does for a living, Aira also writes literary criticism, including monographic studies of Copi, the poet Alejandra Pizarnik, and the nineteenth-century British limerick and nonsense writer Edward Lear. He wrote a short book, Las tres fechas (The Three Dates), arguing for the central importance, when approaching some minor eccentric writers, of examining the moment of their lives about which they are writing, the date of completion of the work, and the date of publication of the work. Aira also was the literary executor of the complete works of his friend the poet and novelist Osvaldo Lamborghini (1940–1985).


Aira has often spoken in interviews of elaborating an avant-garde aesthetic in which, rather than editing what he has written, he engages in a "flight forward" (fuga hacia adelante) to improvise a way out of the corners he writes himself into. Aira also seeks in his own work, and praises in the work of others (such as the Argentine-Parisian cartoonist and comic novelist Copi), the "continuum" (el continuo) of a constant momentum in the fictional narrative. As a result his fictions can jump radically from one genre to another, and often deploy narrative strategies from popular culture and "subliterary" genres like pulp science fiction and television soap operas. He frequently refuses to conform to generic expectations for how a novel ought to end, leaving many of his fictions quite open-ended.

While his subject matter ranges from Surrealist or Dadaist quasi-nonsense to fantastic tales set in his Buenos Aires neighborhood of Flores, Aira also returns frequently to Argentina’s nineteenth century (two books translated into English, The Hare and An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter, are examples of this; so is the best-known novel of his early years, Ema la cautiva (Emma, the Captive)). He also returns regularly to play with stereotypes of an exotic East, such as in Una novela china, (A Chinese Novel); El volante (The Flyer), and El pequeño monje budista (The Little Buddhist Monk). Aira also enjoys mocking himself and his childhood home town, Coronel Pringles, in fictions such as Cómo me hice monja (How I Became a Nun), Cómo me reí (How I Laughed), El cerebro musical (The Musical Brain) and Las curas milagrosas del doctor Aira (The Miraculous Cures of Dr. Aira). His novella La prueba (1992) served as the basis—or point of departure, as only the first half-hour follows the novella—of Diego Lerman's film Tan de repente (Suddenly) (2002). His novel Cómo me hice monja (How I Became a Nun) was selected as one of the ten best publications in Spain in the year 1998.


A partial bibliography:


  • Moreira (1975)
  • Ema, la cautiva (1981)
  • La luz argentina (1983)
  • El vestido rosa. Las ovejas (1984)
  • Canto castrato (1984)
  • Una novela china (1987)
  • Los fantasmas (1990)
  • El bautismo (1991)
  • La liebre (1991). Emecé
  • Embalse (1992). Emecé
  • La guerra de los gimnasios (1992). Emecé
  • La prueba (1992). Grupo Editor Latinoamericano
  • El llanto (1992). Beatriz Viterbo
  • El volante (1992). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Diario de la hepatitis (1993). Bajo la luna nueva
  • Madre e hijo (1993). Bajo La Luna Nueva
  • Cómo me hice monja (1993). Mondadori
  • El infinito (1994)
  • La costurera y el viento (1994). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Los misterios de Rosario (1994). Emecé
  • La fuente (1995). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Los dos payasos (1995). Beatriz Viterbo
  • La abeja (1996). Emecé
  • El mensajero (1996). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Dante y Reina (1997). Mate
  • El congreso de literatura (1997).
  • La trompeta de mimbre (1998). Beatriz Viterbo
  • La serpiente (1998). Beatriz Viterbo
  • El sueño (1998). Emecé
  • Las curas milagrosas del Dr. Aira (1998).[4] Simurg
  • La mendiga (1998). Mondadori
  • Un episodio en la vida del pintor viajero (2000). Beatriz Viterbo
  • El juego de los mundos (2000)
  • Un sueño realizado (2001)
  • La villa (2001). Emecé
  • El mago (2002). Mondadori
  • Varamo (2002). Anagrama
  • Fragmentos de un diario en los Alpes (2002).[4] Beatriz Viterbo
  • La princesa Primavera (2003). Era
  • El tilo (2003).[4] Beatriz Viterbo
  • Mil gotas (2003). Eloísa Cartonera
  • Las noches de Flores (2004)
  • Yo era una chica moderna (2004). Interzona
  • Yo era una niña de siete años (2005). Interzona
  • Cómo me reí (2005). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Haikus (2005). Mate
  • El cerebro musical (2005). Eloísa Cartonera
  • El pequeño monje budista (2005). Mansalva
  • Parménides (2006). Alfaguara
  • El todo que surca la nada (2006). Eloísa Cartonera
  • La cena (2006). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Las conversaciones (2007). Beatriz Viterbo
  • La vida nueva (2007)
  • Las aventuras de Barbaverde (2008). Mondadori
  • La confesión (2009). Beatriz Viterbo
  • El error (2010)
  • El té de Dios (2010)
  • Yo era una mujer casada (2010). Blatt & Ríos
  • Festival (2011)
  • El marmol (2011). La Bestia Equilátera
  • El náufrago (2011). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Cecil Taylor (2011). Mansalva
  • Los dos hombres (2011)
  • Entre los indios (2012). Mansalva
  • Relatos reunidos (2013). Mondadori
  • El testamento del Mago Tenor (2013). Emecé
  • Margarita (un recuerdo) (2013). Mansalva
  • El Ilustre Mago (2013). Ediciones Biblioteca Nacional
  • Artforum (2014). Blatt & Ríos
  • Actos de caridad (2014). Hueders
  • Biografía (2014). Mansalva
  • Triano (2015). Milena Caserola
  • La invención del tren fantasma (2015). Mansalva
  • El Santo (2015). Mondadori/Random House


  • Copi (1991). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Nouvelles Impressions du Petit-Maroc[5] (1991). Meet (French/Spanish bilingual)
  • Taxol: precedido de ‘Duchamp en México’ y ‘La broma’ (1997). Simurg
  • Alejandra Pizarnik (1998). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Cumpleaños (2000, 2001). Mondadori – Autobiographical essay
  • Diccionario de autores latinoamericanos (2001). Emecé
  • Alejandra Pizarnik (2001). Ediciones Omega
  • Las tres fechas (2001). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Edward Lear (2004). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Pequeno manual de procedimentos (2007). Arte & Letra
  • Continuación de ideas diversas (2014). Ediciones Universidad Diego Portales
  • Sobre el arte contemporáneo seguido de En La Habana (2016). Literatura Random House

Works In Translation[edit]


  1. ^ Approximately pronounced like "SAY-sar EYE-ra".
  2. ^ Santos, Lidia (2006). Tropical kitsch: mass media in Latin American art and literature. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-55876-353-1. 
  3. ^ http://ndbooks.com/author/cesar-aira
  4. ^ a b c The Mondadori collection Las curas milagrosas del Doctor Aira (2007) reprints Las curas milagrosas del Dr. Aira (1998) with Fragmentos de un diario en los Alpes (2002) and El tilo (2003).
  5. ^ The title is spelled Nouvelles Impressions du Petit-Maroc on the publisher's page: it refers to the Petit-Maroc ("Little Morocco") district in the city of Saint-Nazaire, France.
  • "The Literary Alchemy of Cesar Aira". The Quarterly Conversation. January 2007. Sitemeter.
  • Galchen, Rivka. 2011. "Into the unforeseen: A romance of César Aira" Harper's Magazine June 2011, pp. 54–63.

External links[edit]