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by César Aira
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César Aira’s novels are the narrative equivalent of the Exquisite Corpse, that Surrealist parlor game in which players add to drawings or stories without knowledge of previous or subsequent additions. The final result never fails to surprise and amuse.
It becomes obvious that Aira is not merely using Varamo’s story as a guidebook describing his literary method, but rather that Aira is mocking these radical ideas of textual production in the same sentences in which he is defending them.
The effect of all the detail and incident César Aira can offer on such a small canvas is vertiginous, like reading an epic poem etched on a grain of sand.