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The Seamstress and the Wind
     

The Seamstress and the Wind

by César Aira
 

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As he runs wildly amok, Aira captures childhood’s treasures — the reality of the fable and the delirium of invention — in this hilariously funny book.The Seamstress and the Wind is a deliciously laugh-out-loud-funny novel. A seamstress who is sewing a wedding dress for the pregnant local art teacher fears that her son, while playing in a big

Overview

As he runs wildly amok, Aira captures childhood’s treasures — the reality of the fable and the delirium of invention — in this hilariously funny book.The Seamstress and the Wind is a deliciously laugh-out-loud-funny novel. A seamstress who is sewing a wedding dress for the pregnant local art teacher fears that her son, while playing in a big semitruck, has been accidentally kidnapped and driven off to Patagonia. Completely unhinged, she calls a local taxi to follow the semi in hot pursuit. When her husband finds out what’s happened, he takes off after wife and child. They race not only to the end of the world, but to adventures in desire — where the wild Southern wind falls in love with the seamstress, and a monster child takes up with the truck driver. Interspersed are Aira’s musings about memory and childhood, and his hometown of Coronel Pringles, with a compelling view of the hard lot of this working-class town, situated not far from Buenos Aires.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This surrealist, self-indulgent exercise set between Patagonia and the Argentinian city of Coronel Pringles kicks off with an inspired invocation comparing the characteristics of memory and dreams, with Aira (Ghosts) casting his lot with the latter. Neither tale nor fable nor even novel-like in any traditional sense (be it stream-of-consciousness narrative, automatic writing, experimental fiction, or even magic realism), this reads like a dream interpretation exercise, replete with chatty snowmen, an all-powerful child monster, a "Paleomobile" and a romantically inclined wind going by the name Sir Ventarrón. While Aira manages to stir some sense of anticipation with the desperate quest of Delia Siffoni, a seamstress who has lost her child and seeks him out at "the end of the world," what actually happens to Delia (who is being hunted by an infant abomination spawned the previous night following a card game lost by her husband) or her missing son is never explicated, as Aira seems to lose interest, preferring to focus the dénouement on a game of cards between secondary characters, the point of which remains likewise elusive. (July)
ZYZZYVA
Aira’s voice is clear, his characters are palpable, and his ideas —elucidations on literary theory, existential ruminations, and thought experiments — are evocative and infectious.”— Cristóbal McKinney
The New York Times
His brutal humor and off-kilter sense of beauty make his stories slip down like spiked cream puffs.”— Natasha Wimmer
The Los Angeles Times
Aira is firmly in the tradition of Jorge Luis Borges and W. G. Sebald,
those great late modernists for whom fiction was a theater of ideas.”— Mark Doty
Cristóbal McKinney - ZYZZYVA
“Aira’s voice is clear, his characters are palpable, and his ideas —elucidations on literary theory, existential ruminations, and thought experiments — are evocative and infectious.”
Natasha Wimmer - The New York Times
“His brutal humor and off-kilter sense of beauty make his stories slip down like spiked cream puffs.”
Roberto Bolaño
“Once you start reading Aira, you don’t want to stop.”
Mark Doty - The Los Angeles Times
“Aira is firmly in the tradition of Jorge Luis Borges and W. G. Sebald,
those great late modernists for whom fiction was a theater of ideas.”
Eileen Battersby - The Irish Times
“A first reaction to this virtuosic confection is to delight in its cascade of images and the sheer craziness of a roller-coaster sequence of events that all seem so plausible. César Aira, an Argentine writer of fiction and literary criticism, is the obvious heir to Jorge Luis Borges. Along with a daring sense of fun, Aira has a playful imagination and the ability to spin a yarn as intricate as a spider’s web.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811219129
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
06/30/2011
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
908,850
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.40(d)

Meet the Author

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.

Rosalie Knecht won a Fulbright to work closely with César Aira on the translation of The Seamstress and the Wind.

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