Though most of César Aira's books tend to be slim affairs, they make up with inventiveness for whatever they may lack in length. The prolific Argentine novelist's works are wildly imaginative, and the depth of his creativity seems matched by the ease with which he is able to blend, cross, and move within different genres. The Seamstress and the Wind is the sixth of Aira's books (of more than 80) to be translated into English.
The Seamstress and the Wind combines a number of elements that, at first glance, might appear to make for a jumbled, undisciplined, and haphazard work. The brilliance of Aira's writing, however, is that he, like a literary alchemist, transmutes disparate components into something fantastical and rewarding. Mixing the mundane with the phantasmagorical, Aira's novels are richly engaging, for one is never sure upon which point the story is about to veer into the realm of the wholly unforeseen. The word predictable is one that ought never be employed to describe any aspect of Aira's fiction. The magnificent range in his work is no mere clever device, but instead reflects an unfettered imagination that allows for a story to freely evolve. The effect is disarming and seems refreshingly natural (perhaps in contrast to the abundance of forced narratives that abound elsewhere in contemporary literature). Contributing to the overall affluence of his writing are his reliably intriguing characters, seemingly average yet possessed by a charming singularity. The Seamstress and the Wind features characters the likes of which will not soon be forgotten (nor their entrances into the story).
César Aira is remarkably gifted, and his ability to seamlessly infuse his work with humor, fantasy, poignant observation, unrestrained style, and invigorating prose is truly amazing. Although each one of his books is entirely unlike its predecessor, they all seem to complement one another in a way that reinforces the prowess of his creativity. The more Aira that I read, the more easily I am convinced that he is one of the most talented, original, and important writers at work today. Though few of his books are even as long as 150 pages, they leave the reader bewitched long after the story has concluded. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
is a deliciously laugh-out-loud-funny novel. A seamstress who is sewing a wedding dress for the pregnant local art teacher fears that her son, while playing in a big semitruck, has been accidentally kidnapped and driven off to Patagonia. Completely unhinged, she calls a local taxi to follow the semi in hot pursuit. When her husband finds out what's happened, he takes off after wife and child. They race not only to the end of the world, but to adventures in desire -- where the wild Southern wind falls in love with the seamstress, and a monster child takes up with the truck driver. Interspersed are Aira's musings about memory and childhood, and his hometown of Coronel Pringles, with a compelling view of the hard lot of this working-class town, situated not far from Buenos Aires.
"This surrealist, self-indulgent exercise set between Patagonia and the Argentinian city of Coronel Pringles kicks off with an inspired invocation comparing the characteristics of memory and dreams, with Aira (Ghosts) casting his lot with the latter. Neither tale nor fable nor even novel-like in any traditional sense (be it stream-of-consciousness narrative, automatic writing, experimental fiction, or even magic realism), this reads like a dream interpretation exercise, replete with chatty snowmen, an all-powerful child monster, a 'Paleomobile' and a romantically inclined wind going by the name Sir VentarrÃ³n. While Aira manages to stir some sense of anticipation with the desperate quest of Delia Siffoni, a seamstress who has lost her child and seeks him out at 'the end of the world,' what actually happens to Delia (who is being hunted by an infant abomination spawned the previous night following a card game lost by her husband) or her missing son is never explicated, as Aira seems to lose interest, preferring to focus the dÃ©nouement on a game of cards between secondary characters, the point of which remains likewise elusive. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"His brutal humor and off-kilter sense of beauty make his stories slip down like spiked cream puffs." ZYZZYVA
"Once you start reading Aira, you don't want to stop." Natasha Wimmer The New York Times
"Aira is firmly in the tradition of Jorge Luis Borges and W. G. Sebald, those great late modernists for whom fiction was a theater of ideas." Roberto Bolaño
"Aira's voice is clear, his characters are palpable, and his ideas --elucidations on literary theory, existential ruminations, and thought experiments -- are evocative and infectious." Cristóbal McKinney
As he runs wildly amok, Aira captures childhood's treasures -- the reality of the fable and the delirium of invention -- in this hilariously funny book.
About the Author
César Aira was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, in 1949. Wildly popular in Latin America, he has published more than seventy books of short fictions and essays.Rosalie Knecht won a Fulbright to work closely with César Aira on the translation of The Seamstress and the Wind.