By César Aira

ISBN-10: 0811221105

ISBN-13: 9780811221108

Day-by-day conversations in outdoors cafes with cultured buddies will help make fact a bit extra genuine. regrettably, even though, in the course of one such dialog, one guy spots a gold Rolex watch on a television cleaning soap opera's goatherd. This likely small absurdity units off alarms: unusual sensations of deception, misery, and incipient insanity. the 2 men's uneasiness quickly turns into a nightmare because the television experience advances with a real-life plot -- related to a mutant pressure of killer algae -- to take over the realm! The Conversations, a truth inside of a fiction inside of a parallel truth, is hilariously humorous and unusually touching.

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Paintings, sculptures, novels are like an artist’s deciduous body parts, dead epidermis sloughed off as part of the skin’s regeneration. The art works that a creator sheds and that disperse into his audience are little corpses mourned in the instant of their passing, as their surrender enriches the recipient on whom they are bestowed. Like l’Abbé Jules, the book collector is an invalid wedded to his disease, so that perusing Indiana reactivates symptoms whose remission only lasts as long as George Sand’s book is unopened.

37 The monument that Mintié fantasizes about erecting would pay tribute to his glory and commemorate the loss of the art work whose production permits attainment of immortality. In Le Calvaire, there is nothing immune to the thanatropic movement of living things toward quiescence, nothing impervious to the corrosive forces of cowardice and desire that leave corpses littering beds and battlefields. Like raw experience that dies in order to be reborn as its fictionalization, the suffering artist perishes, returning as the author of his autobiography.

As Mirbeau would come to realize, utopia is another disabling maternal sanctuary, a place where “artistes engagés” are rendered obsolete, as mankind’s universal happiness makes literature superfluous. This is why Mintié prefers the symbol of the crucifix, representing, as it does, the interminable Passion of the savior, which never ends with death and an indescribable resurrection. This is why Mintié projects himself as a suffering redeemer – imprisoned in the body, denied any real transcendence.

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Conversations by César Aira


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