Cesar Aira

César Aira is a translator as well as the author of around 80 books of his own – so far. He declared that he might have become a painter if it weren’t so difficult (‘the paint, the brushes, having to clean it all’). He was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, and moved to Buenos Aires in 1967 at the age of eighteen and was, by his own admission, ‘a young militant leftist, with the notion of writing big realist novels.’ By 1972, after a brief spell in prison following a student demonstration, he was writing anything but.

His writing is considered to be among the most important and influential in Latin America today, and is marked by extreme eccentricity and innovation, as well as an aesthetic restlessness and a playful spirit. He is without a doubt the true heir to Jorge Luis Borges’ literature of ideas. He has been called many things: ‘slippery’ (The Nation), ‘too smart’ (New York Sun), ‘infuriating’ (New York Times Book Review) and a writer of ‘perplexing episodes’ (New York Review of Books). He’s also been called ‘one of the three or four best writers working in Spanish today’ (Roberto Bolaño) and the ‘most original, shocking, exciting and subversive Spanish-language author of our day’ (Ignacio Echevarría). Patti Smith was ‘quickly seduced’ when she read The Seamstress and the Wind, and admits that seeing him at a writer’s conference: ‘I was so excited at his presence that I bounded his way like a St. Bernard’.