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The Famous Magician

Hardcover

César Aira (Author), Chris Andrews (Translator)

Our Retail Price:£9.99

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Description

A writer is offered a devil’s bargain: will he give up reading books in exchange for total world domination?

A certain writer (“past sixty, enjoying ‘a certain renown’”) strolls through the old book market in a Buenos Aires park: “My Sunday walk through the market, repeated over so many years, was part of my general fantasizing about books.” It helps him “know what my as-yet unwritten books would be about.” Unfortunately, he is currently suffering writer’s block. Soon, however, that proves to be the least of our hero’s problems. There in the market, he tries and fails to avoid the insufferable boor Ovando—“a complete loser,” but a “man supremely full of himself”: “Conceit was never less justified.” And yet, is Ovando a master magician? Can he turn sugar cubes into pure gold? And can our protagonist decline the offer Ovando proposes: absolute power if the writer never in his life reads another book? And, is his publisher also a great magician? And the writer’s wife?
      Only César Aira could have cooked up this witch’s potion (and only he would plop phantom Mont Blanc pens into his cauldron, as well as jackals and fearsome crocodiles from the banks of the Nile)—a brew bubbling over with the question: where does literature end and magic begin?

Reviews

“Aira's works are like slim cabinets of wonder, full of unlikely juxtapositions. His unpredictability is masterful.” — Rivka Galchen, Harpers

“Aira’s cubist eye sees from every angle.” — Patti Smith, New York Times Book Review

“César Aira is writing a gigantic, headlong, acrobatic fresco of modern life entirely made up of novelettes, novellas, novelitas. In other words, he is a great literary trickster, and also one of the most charming.” — Adam Thirlwell

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