César Aira

César Aira
Born (1949-02-23) 23 February 1949
Coronel Pringles, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
Occupation Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist

César Aira (Argentine Spanish: [ˈse.saɾ ˈai.ɾa];[1] born 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

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). Achával Solo
  • Ema, la cautiva (1981). Editorial de Belgrano
  • La luz argentina (1983). CEAL
  • El vestido rosa. Las ovejas (1984). Ada Korn Editora
  • Canto castrato (1984). Javier Vergara Editor
  • Una novela china (1987). Javier Vergara Editor
  • Los fantasmas (1990). Grupo Editor Latinoamericano
  • El bautismo (1991). Grupo Editor Latinoamericano
  • 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
  • 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 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). El Broche
  • Un sueño realizado (2001). Alfaguara
  • 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
  • Las noches de Flores (2004). Mondadori
  • 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 pequeño monje budista (2005). Mansalva
  • Parménides (2006). Alfaguara
  • La cena (2006). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Las conversaciones (2007). Beatriz Viterbo
  • La vida nueva (2007). Mansalva
  • Las aventuras de Barbaverde (2008). Mondadori
  • La confesión (2009). Beatriz Viterbo
  • El error (2010). Mondadori
  • Yo era una mujer casada (2010). Blatt & Ríos
  • Festival (2011). BAFICI
  • El marmol (2011). La Bestia Equilátera
  • El náufrago (2011). Beatriz Viterbo
  • Cecil Taylor (2011). Mansalva
  • Los dos hombres (2011) Urania
  • Entre los indios (2012). Mansalva
  • 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/Literatura Random House

Pamphlets & Stand-Alone Short Stories

Stories Originally Published in Magazines

Short Story Collections

Essays and Non-Fiction

Works In English Translation

Studies on Aira's Work


  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. 1 2 3 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. Esposito, Scott (February 9, 2015). "Eight Questions for Chris Andrews on The Musical Brain". Conversational Reading.
  6. Aira, César (2013). "Provenencia de algunos de los relatos". Relatos reunidos. Literatura Random House. ISBN 9788439727330.
  7. 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

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