The Little Buddhist Monk by César Aira


César Aira

Nick Caistor

Price: £7.99

B format paperback with flaps


eBook ISBN:

Original language:

Published by:
And Other Stories

Publication date:
23 March 2017

In Korea, a little Buddhist monk (really very dwarf-sized) dreams of the Western world and secretly reads up on Western culture. When he meets the holidaying French couple Napoleon Chirac and Jacqueline Bloodymary​​, he offers his services as their guide, in the hope they will take him, a penniless monk, to Europe. He whisks them off on a tour of the temples. Among the many twists and turns, our stunned tourists encounter a suicidal horse and discover that a person can also be a robot. Though our monk appears to them as the very spirit of tourism, nothing is natural in this tour de force of Aira’s twisted imagination.

More Information

  • Read more about César Aira on our author page.
  • Read a new interview with Aira in The Skinny
  • You can watch a great interview with César Aira on the website of the Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen here.

Praise for The Little Buddhist Monk

  • ‘Beautiful . . . so dismayingly sad, and so ghastly, yet so satirically piercing, that one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.’ Louis Amis, The Spectator
  • ‘An absurdist interpretation of the Western gaze onto Eastern exoticism.’ The Skinny
  • ‘Agreeably absurd, balancing near surreality, yet also so solidly grounded in what seems to be the real, The Little Buddhist Monk is typical of Aira’s playful invention, and his craft. A philosophical meditation — including on art itself — but ultimately (and somewhat ironically) also touchingly human, it is a charming little read.’ Complete Review
  • ‘Aira’s absurdist imagery peppered with philosophical musing has such a seductive appeal. It’s invigorating writing that has a curious way of lingering in the reader’s imagination.’ The Lonesome Reader

Praise for César Aira

  • ‘Hail César!’ Patti Smith, New York Times
  • ‘Aira writes at full tilt, going where the words take him (a style he calls “constant flight forward”) so that reading him is dizzying.’ Jane Housham, The Guardian
  • ‘If there is one contemporary writer who defies classification, it is César Aira. His novels seem to put the theories of Gombrowicz into practice, except, and the difference is fundamental, that Gombrowicz was the abbot of a luxurious imaginary monastery, while Aira is a nun or novice among the Discalced Carmelites of the Word. Sometimes he is reminiscent of Roussel (Roussel on his knees in a bath red with blood), but the only living writer to whom he can be compared is Barcelona’s Enrique Vila-Matas.’ Roberto Bolaño
  • ‘Aira is firmly in the tradition of Jorge Luis Borges and W. G. Sebald.’ Mark Doty, Los Angeles Times
  • ‘Bewitching and bewildering . . . Compulsively readable. Aira’s writing – with its equal measures of rich complications and airy whimsies – combines brevity with so many possible meanings.’ Arifa Akbar, Financial Times
  • ‘Surreal and intriguing . . . a drama is as fun as it is mystifying.’ The Guardian
  • ‘A work of literary trigonometry. The prose bounds along with a gleeful spring in its step, dragging the improbable story behind it . . . If you’re happy to have your buttons pushed, then you’ll fall for this shaggy-dog-story-on-shrooms, and fall hard.’ Roger Cox, The Scotsman
  • ‘Funny, poetic and wonderfully readable . . . Idiosyncratic and vivacious.’ Big Issue
  • ‘It works as a piece of art whose fresh, gorgeous images carry rich meanings about the nature of transformation. But it also works as a story that makes you miss your subway stop.’ Electric Literature
  • ‘Sophisticated and energetic writing which will leave you scratching your head with curious wonder.’ The Lonesome Reader

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