One day in 1923, a middle-aged public servant is paid his salary in counterfeit notes; by the next morning, after a series of impossible complications which lead to a triumphant resolution, he has written a great poem.
Consumed with anxiety about how to dispose of the fake money, he ricochets from one encounter to another, with a chauffeur suspected of leading an uprising and a madman demanding payment of an imaginary debt, a comatose cabinet minister whose car has been overturned, his paranoid mother, two genteel golf-club-smuggling sisters, an obliging maid called ‘the last woman’ and three pirate publishers who finally push him to write ‘that celebrated masterpiece of modern Central American poetry, The Song of the Virgin Child.’
Aira is the Duchamp of Latin American literature, a light-footed experimentalist who follows a credo of improvisation and forward motion, plotting as he goes…His agenda is subversive, but his brutal humour and off-kilter sense of beauty make his stories slip down like spiked cream puffs.New York Times
César Aira was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, in 1949. He has published more than 70 books of fiction and criticism. Varamo is the seventh of his novels to appear in English translation. Aira is widely recognised as one of the most inventive and surprising fiction writers working in Spanish today.
Chris Andrews studied at the University of Melbourne and taught there, in the French programme, from 1995 to 2008. He came to the University of Western Sydney in 2009. He has translated books of fiction by Latin American authors, including Roberto Bolaño’s Distant Star, César Aira’s The Musical Brain and Other Stories and Rodrigo Rey Rosa’s Severina.
Giramondo has now published seven titles in Giramondo Shorts, a new series of short form, short print run books, designed to take account of the new technologies of digital printing, and to appeal to a community of literary readers. The series carries a quote from Les Murray’s poem ‘The Dream of Wearing Shorts Forever’: ‘it is […]