How I Became a Nun

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New Directions Publishing, 2006 - Fiction - 117 pages
69 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  - Jenny (adultishbooks) - Goodreads

This little book is about a girl (or boy) named Cesar Aira (see author name) and the aftermath of an unfortunate trip to an ice cream shop. The first twenty pages were strong but melted (pun intended ... Read full review

Review: How I Became a Nun

User Review  - Heather - Goodreads

LBC Bingo: A South American book (Argentina) I'm going to leave this book unrated for now because I'm clueless as to whether I like this book or not. It was so confusing on so many levels. Entirely different. Read full review

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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.

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