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Varamo

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Varamo Cover

ISBN13: 9780811217415
ISBN10: 0811217418
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Unmistakably the work of César Aira, is about the day in the life of a hapless government employee who, after wandering around all night after being paid by the Ministry in counterfeit money, eventually writes the most celebrated masterwork of modern Central American poetry, . What is odd is that, at fifty years old, Varamo "hadn't previously written one sole verse, nor had it ever occurred to him to write one." Among other things, this novella is an ironic allegory of the poet's vocation and inspiration, the subtlety of artistic genius, and our need to give literature an historic, national, psychological, and aesthetic context. But Aira goes further still — converting the ironic allegory into a formidable parody of the expectations that all narrative texts generate — by laying out the pathos of a man who between one night and the following morning is touched by genius. Once again Aira surprises us with his unclassifiable fiction: original and enjoyable, worthy of many a thoughtful chuckle, invites the reader to become an accomplice in the author's irresistible game.

Review:

"Aira, author of more than 80 published books, returns with another slim story, this one about an ineffectual government clerk who, after wandering around 1923 Colón, Panama all night, sits down and in one fell swoop writes the most famous poem in the modern Central American canon. But Aira is less concerned with the result than he is with the events immediately leading up to its composition: an attempt to embalm a fish; a conversation with two reclusive sisters who live in the neighborhood; a 'regularity rally,' or race in which the winner is the driver who deviates least from a predetermined speed between start and finish. The book is structured around a series of chance encounters, while also giving Aira some asides on broader concepts like the nature of perception, the promises of narrative form, and human thought. We never get to read Varamo's great poem, and the story might strike some as dilatory and unfocused, but others will relish Aira's language ('The stars were an overwhelming surprise') and the simplicity of his set pieces, one of which serves as the book's last image and involves birds gently pecking at a small red candy stuck on the branches of a bush. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The surprising, magnificent story of a Panamanian government employee who, one day, after a series of troubles, writes the celebrated masterwork of modern Central American poetry.

About the Author

César Aira (b. 1949) was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, in 1949. He has published more than seventy books of fiction and essays.Chris Andrews has won the TLS Valle Inclán Prize and the PEN Translation Prize for his New Directions translations of Roberto Bolaño. A poet who lives and teaches in Australia, he has translated eight Bolaño books and three novels by César Aira for New Directions.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

geo, July 31, 2012 (view all comments by geo)
In this very short book, Cesar Aira is totally entertaining. A low level bureaucrat, paid in counterfeit money, attempts a DIY taxidermy project of a fish playing a piano. Two kind Panamanian ladies radio instructions to golf club smugglers. An all-night writing frenzy begins as a non-fiction book, the subject of which the author knows nothing about, and ends up as a poetic masterpiece of Latin American poetry. A LOT of fun.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780811217415
Author:
Aira, Cesar
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Author:
Andrews, Chris
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20120231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
144
Dimensions:
7 x 5 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Reference » Bibliography and Library Science

Varamo New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 144 pages New Directions Publishing Corporation - English 9780811217415 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Aira, author of more than 80 published books, returns with another slim story, this one about an ineffectual government clerk who, after wandering around 1923 Colón, Panama all night, sits down and in one fell swoop writes the most famous poem in the modern Central American canon. But Aira is less concerned with the result than he is with the events immediately leading up to its composition: an attempt to embalm a fish; a conversation with two reclusive sisters who live in the neighborhood; a 'regularity rally,' or race in which the winner is the driver who deviates least from a predetermined speed between start and finish. The book is structured around a series of chance encounters, while also giving Aira some asides on broader concepts like the nature of perception, the promises of narrative form, and human thought. We never get to read Varamo's great poem, and the story might strike some as dilatory and unfocused, but others will relish Aira's language ('The stars were an overwhelming surprise') and the simplicity of his set pieces, one of which serves as the book's last image and involves birds gently pecking at a small red candy stuck on the branches of a bush. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , The surprising, magnificent story of a Panamanian government employee who, one day, after a series of troubles, writes the celebrated masterwork of modern Central American poetry.
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