How I Became a Nun

Front Cover
New Directions, 2006 - Fiction - 117 pages
62 Reviews
"My story, the story of 'how I became a nun,' began very early in my life; I had just turned six. The beginning is marked by a vivid memory, which I can reconstruct down to the last detail. Before, there is nothing, and after, everything is an extension of the same vivid memory, continuous and unbroken, including the intervals of sleep, up to the point where I took the veil ." So starts Cesar Aira's astounding "autobiographical" novel. Intense and perfect, this invented narrative of childhood experience bristles with dramatic humor at each stage of growing up: a first ice cream, school, reading, games, friendship. The novel begins in Aira's hometown, Coronel Pringles. As self-awareness grows, the story rushes forward in a torrent of anecdotes which transform a world of uneventful happiness into something else: the anecdote becomes adventure, and adventure, fable, and then legend. Between memory and oblivion, reality and fiction, Cesar Aira's How I Became a Nun retains childhood's main treasures: the reality of fable and the delirium of invention.

A few days after his fiftieth birthday, Aira noticed the thin rim of the moon, visible despite the rising sun. When his wife explained the phenomenon to him he was shocked that for fifty years he had known nothing about "something so obvious, so visible." This epiphany led him to write How I Became a Nun. With a subtle and melancholic sense of humor he reflects on his failures, on the meaning of life and the importance of literature.

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I loved the story, very surprising ending. - Goodreads
And the ending is both inexplicable and inevitable. - Goodreads
For "nun" substitute "writer." - Goodreads
There was no ending, but I finished the book. - Goodreads

Review: How I Became a Nun

User Review  - Tony - Goodreads

HOW I BECAME A NUN. (1993; trans. 2007). Cesar Aira. ****. I gave this short novel four stars, but that was a stab in the dark. There was really no other novel I could really compare it to. So…look ... Read full review

Review: How I Became a Nun

User Review  - Universalman Manuniversal - Goodreads

This was the first book I read by Aira, and was pleased not by story itself but by his heightened imagination. I have nine more books by him in my shelf, and I hope I'll have something called opinion ... Read full review

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
11
Section 3
21
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

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About the author (2006)

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.

The poet Chris Andrews has translated many books by Roberto Bolaño and César Aira for New Directions.

Bibliographic information