How I Became a Nun

Front Cover
New Directions Publishing, 2006 - Fiction - 117 pages
65 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

Review: How I Became a Nun

User Review  - Gurldoggie - Goodreads

An intense little jolt of a novel. Deceptively short with a relatively innocent opening, the book quickly descends into a terrifying allegory of adolescence. Lost in a worldwide of uncertain meaning ... Read full review

Review: How I Became a Nun

User Review  - Rae - Goodreads

"In this case, and maybe in all the others too, I had the marvelous consolation of knowing that I was an angel. This knowledge transformed the situation, turning it into a dream, but a real dream. It ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
11
Section 2
21
Section 3
31
Section 4
45
Section 5
59
Section 6
71
Section 7
81
Section 8
91
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Cesar 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