‘Suddenly it hits you: you’re not twenty; you’re not young any more . . . and in the meantime, while you were thinking about something else, the world has changed.’
Birthday begins with a fiftieth birthday. It comes and goes without fanfare, but just a few months later, an apparently banal comment that reveals a gap in the author’s knowledge of the world prompts him to sit down in a café and write. As he sifts through anecdotes and weaves memories together, Aira reflects on the origin of his beliefs and his incapacity to live, on literature understood from the author’s and the reader’s point of view, on death and the Last Judgement.Read an Excerpt
- The fifth of six collectible of Aira novels from And Other Stories
‘Aira’s novels are concerned with the phenomenology of contemporary history, which can feel both immovably stable and cartoonishly slippery – a frenzy of nonsensical inversions, one after another, like a seemingly never-ending series of little novels.’
'This memoir by Argentine writer Cesar Aira, written for his 50th birthday, is his strongest work to come out in a while — subtle and masterful, though very different from a lot of his other books in its intimate, more direct personal narrative. He finds an access route to the deepest regions of a passing thought without overworking anything. With Aira, you always want to go along for the ride.'
‘One of the Spanish language’s greatest writers . . . BIRTHDAY is wise in its inexactitude.’
Arifa Akbar, praise for Cesar Aira
‘Aira’s writing . . . combines brevity with so many possible meanings.’