Varamo

Front Cover
New Directions Publishing, Feb 22, 2012 - Fiction - 144 pages
2 Reviews

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.

Unmistakably the work of César Aira, Varamo 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, The Song of the Virgin Boy. 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, Varamo invites the reader to become an accomplice in the author’s irresistible game.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JimElkins - LibraryThing

This completes my reading of all Aira's books in English translation, as of February 2012. I am disappointed to see how, when the books are read in quantity, the strangeness of any one or two of them ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jasonlf - LibraryThing

The back cover of this short novella compares it to Borges, which seems to be a common comparison among Argentine authors, at least the ones more available in English translation. Although if you had ... Read full review

Selected pages

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

Nominated for a Neustadt Award and shortlisted for the 2015 Man Booker International Prize, César Aira was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, in 1949. He has published at least ninety books.

The poet Chris Andrews teaches at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, where he is a member of the Writing and Society Research Center. He has translated books by Roberto Bolańo and César Aira for New Directions.

Bibliographic information