Biography

César Aira is a translator as well as the author of around 80 books of his own – so far. He declared that he might have become a painter if it weren’t so difficult (‘the paint, the brushes, having to clean it all’). He was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, and moved to Buenos Aires in 1967 at the age of eighteen and was, by his own admission, ‘a young militant leftist, with the notion of writing big realist novels.’ By 1972, after a brief spell in prison following a student demonstration, he was writing anything but.

His writing is considered to be among the most important and influential in Latin America today, and is marked by extreme eccentricity and innovation, as well as an aesthetic restlessness and a playful spirit. He is without a doubt the true heir to Jorge Luis Borges’ literature of ideas. He has been called many things: ‘slippery’ (The Nation), ‘too smart’ (New York Sun), ‘infuriating’ (New York Times Book Review) and a writer of ‘perplexing episodes’ (New York Review of Books). He’s also been called ‘one of the three or four best writers working in Spanish today’ (Roberto Bolaño) and the ‘most original, shocking, exciting and subversive Spanish-language author of our day’ (Ignacio Echevarría). Patti Smith was ‘quickly seduced’ when she read The Seamstress and the Wind, and admits that seeing him at a writer’s conference: ‘I was so excited at his presence that I bounded his way like a St. Bernard’.

More Info

  • You can watch César Aira talking about his love of writing in this video from the Louisiana Literature Festival, and read Aira’s US publisher, Barbara Epler of New Directions, talking about Aira’s work here in the New Yorker.
  • And Other Stories will be publishing no fewer than five of César Aira’s books between 2016 and 2019. You can read more about the first four of these: The Seamstress and the Wind, The Little Buddhist Monk, The Proof and The Lime Tree on our book pages. Watch out for the fifth book in 2019.

4 Aira covers

Reviews


El Cultural

‘One of the Spanish language’s greatest writers . . . BIRTHDAY is wise in its inexactitude.’

Arifa Akbar, praise for Cesar Aira
Financial Times

‘Aira’s writing . . . combines brevity with so many possible meanings.’


New York Times Book Review

‘Aira is one of the most provocative and idiosyncratic novelists working in Spanish today, and should not be missed.’

Jane Housham
The Guardian

‘Aira writes at full tilt, going where the words take him (a style he calls “constant flight forward”) so that reading him is dizzying.’

Patricio Pron
New York Times

‘Aira’s work is varied and extensive, but The [Lime] Tree may be one of its best points of entry, affirming the existence of a Latin American literature that refuses to conform to the conventions and stereotypes of magical realism, social realism or other clichés about fiction from this part of the globe.’

Patrick Flanery
The Spectator

'Although comprised of what can seem like individually minor creations, Aira’s project is no less ambitious than Proust’s, and for those of his fans who cannot read his work in Spanish, the arrival of each new title is a bittersweet occasion. It has taken 14 years for The Lime Tree to reach us in English, and that is too long to wait. We want more, and we want it yesterday.'

Arifa Akbar
Financial 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.’


Irish Times

‘Along with a daring sense of fun, Aira has a playful imagination and the ability to spin a yarn as intricate as a spider’s web.’

Mark Doty
Los Angeles Times

‘Aira is firmly in the tradition of Jorge Luis Borges and W. G. Sebald.’

Patti Smith

‘Hail César!’

Adam Thirlwell

‘César Aira is writing a gigantic, headlong, acrobatic fresco of modern life entirely made up of novelettes, novellas, novelitas. . . In other words, he is a great literary trickster, and also one of the most charming.’

Rivka Galchen

‘Aira’s works are like slim cabinets of wonder, full of unlikely juxtapositions. His unpredictability is masterful.’

Patti Smith, The New York Times
The New York Times

‘I was quickly seduced by The Seamstress and the Wind, which takes place in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, Aira’s hometown. It figures he’d come from a place called Pringles, where funny music resounds and nothing ever happens, except everything.’

Arifa Akbar
Financial 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, or none.’


The Guardian

‘Surreal and intriguing . . . a drama is as fun as it is mystifying.’

Eileen Battersby
Irish Times

‘Wow. A virtuosic confection . . . Aira is the obvious heir to Jorge Luis Borges.’

Miranda France
Times Literary Supplement

'The Seamstress and the Wind is brilliantly, logically bonkers. In this excellent translation by Rosalie Knecht . . . the book is another strong addition to the impressive And Other Stories list.’

Roger Cox
The Scotsman

‘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.’


The Big Issue

‘Funny, poetic and wonderfully readable . . . Idiosyncratic and vivacious, The Seamstress and the Wind reads more like an afternoon in the pub with a dreamy Eddie Izzard than a sit-down session exploring prose form with Eimear McBride, and is all the better for it.’


The Spectator

‘Beautiful . . . so dismayingly sad, and so ghastly, yet so satirically piercing, that one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.’


The Skinny

‘An absurdist interpretation of the Western gaze onto Eastern exoticism.’

Louis Amis
The Spectator

The Proof is an exceptionally good novella.'

Ian McMillan

‘A vivid rollercoaster of a book . . . superbly translated by Nick Caistor.’ Ian McMillan


La Nación

‘In The Lime Tree, behind a casual tone and the circuitous routes of memory, Aira hides reflections on and images of history that construct a meaning no less true for being fleeting and unstable.’


La Gaceta

‘In all of Aira’s vast production, The Lime Tree is our favourite kind of Aira: the subplots branch out without fracturing the trunk of the narrative. There is a strong core to The Lime Tree: how and why does a person draw up memories from the roots of childhood? What was it in the past that set us off on the line that we follow all our life and which pulls us inexorably to our present? How is it that a phrase, a sentence or a doubt can determine who we are?’

Arifa Akbar
Financial 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.’

Patti Smith
The New York Times

'I was quickly seduced by The Seamstress and the Wind, which takes place in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, Aira’s hometown. It figures he’d come from a place called Pringles, where funny music resounds and nothing ever happens, except everything.'

Extraordinary books straight to your door.

Two, four and six book subscriptions available.
Spoil yourself or send them as a gift.

And Other Emails

Lovingly crafted by Subzero - Brighton Web Design & Mike Hewett - Cornwall Digital & Print Design
Login
New customer?

Register to purchase books, subscriptions or post comments on our reading groups.

Register
Close