César Aira



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


Print ISBN : 978-1-920882-86-0
pp : 112
Published : May 2012

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About the Author

Cesar Aira
César Aira was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, in 1949. Since 1967 he has lived in Buenos Aires. He has published more than 70 books of fiction and criticism. Varamo is the seventh of his novels to appear in English translation, after The Seamstress and the Wind (New Directions, 2011), The Literary Conference (New Directions, 2010), Ghosts (New Directions, 2008), How I Became a Nun (New Directions, 2007), An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter (New Directions, 2006) and The Hare (Serpent’s Tail, 1997). César Aira is widely recognized as one of the most inventive and surprising fiction writers working in Spanish today. He is also one of the freest and most invigorating.