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The Literary Conference (New Directions…
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The Literary Conference (New Directions Pearls) (1997 original; edició 2010)

de César Aira (Autor), Katherine Silver (Traductor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
2381487,147 (3.73)29
César is a translator who's fallen on very hard times due to the global economic downturn; he is also an author, and a mad scientist hell-bent on world domination. On a visit to the beach he intuitively solves an ancient riddle, finds a pirate's treasure, and becomes a very wealthy man. Even so, César's bid for world domination comes first and so he attends a literary conference to be near the man whose clone he hopes will lead an army to victory: the world-renowned Mexican author, Carlos Fuentes. A comic science fiction fantasy of the first order,The Literary Conference is the perfect vehicle for César Aira's take over of literature in the 21st century.… (més)
Membre:JLMeads
Títol:The Literary Conference (New Directions Pearls)
Autors:César Aira (Autor)
Altres autors:Katherine Silver (Traductor)
Informació:New Directions (2010), 96 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:*****
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Detalls de l'obra

The Literary Conference de César Aira (1997)

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» Mira també 29 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 13 (següent | mostra-les totes)
"Under my interior magnifying glass, or inside it, each thought takes on the figure of a clone in its rhetorical anamorphosis: an overdetermined identity." - pg. 20

"The lights were very low, we were practically in the dark. Or rather, the beams and pulses of the colored lights allowed us to see what was going on but not reconstruct it in our minds. This is the astute discovery such night spots have made. Their lighting arrangements reproduce subjectivity thereby nullifying it, a process further assisted by the alcohol and the noise." - pg. 46

In a literary floor routine worthy of an Olympic medal Aira contemplates the nature of subjectivity, the relationship between the reader and the author, the value and flow of intellectual ideas as Lyotard-ian self-replicating viruses, the limits of perception, even the nature of reality itself wrapped inside a brilliant and entertaining package of allusions to Frankenstein, giant B-Movie monsters, and secret pirate's treasure. HE DOES THIS IN 68 PAGES.

In a very self-conscious departure from Aira's usual third person POV, and in the only way he ever could write in first person, this novel revels in the subjective trappings of its perspective, doubling back on it, justifying it, getting completely tangled like an entire film made between Hugh Grant's stuttering from one idea to another.

"At least I had the good sense not to mix my drinks, but rum is deceptive, always so smooth, so calming, like a perennial cause with no effect, until the effect shows itself, and then you realize the effect had been there from the beginning, even before there began to be a cause." - pg. 42

Themes in this novel scale and like fractals in the natural world and it all feels like magic to me as a reader. How did Aira pull off such virtuosity in such bold concision?

His interests, playfulness, and intelligence have quickly won me over. I'll be reading a lot more. ( )
  Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
"Under my interior magnifying glass, or inside it, each thought takes on the figure of a clone in its rhetorical anamorphosis: an overdetermined identity." - pg. 20

"The lights were very low, we were practically in the dark. Or rather, the beams and pulses of the colored lights allowed us to see what was going on but not reconstruct it in our minds. This is the astute discovery such night spots have made. Their lighting arrangements reproduce subjectivity thereby nullifying it, a process further assisted by the alcohol and the noise." - pg. 46

In a literary floor routine worthy of an Olympic medal Aira contemplates the nature of subjectivity, the relationship between the reader and the author, the value and flow of intellectual ideas as Lyotard-ian self-replicating viruses, the limits of perception, even the nature of reality itself wrapped inside a brilliant and entertaining package of allusions to Frankenstein, giant B-Movie monsters, and secret pirate's treasure. HE DOES THIS IN 68 PAGES.

In a very self-conscious departure from Aira's usual third person POV, and in the only way he ever could write in first person, this novel revels in the subjective trappings of its perspective, doubling back on it, justifying it, getting completely tangled like an entire film made between Hugh Grant's stuttering from one idea to another.

"At least I had the good sense not to mix my drinks, but rum is deceptive, always so smooth, so calming, like a perennial cause with no effect, until the effect shows itself, and then you realize the effect had been there from the beginning, even before there began to be a cause." - pg. 42

Themes in this novel scale and like fractals in the natural world and it all feels like magic to me as a reader. How did Aira pull off such virtuosity in such bold concision?

His interests, playfulness, and intelligence have quickly won me over. I'll be reading a lot more. ( )
  Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
Do you like innovate, avant-garde fiction polished superfine? Introducing César Aira from Argentina, author of dozens of quirky, quizzical, lyrical novellas and novels, many translated into English, his best known An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter, a surreal yarn of a nineteenth century German artist's travels in Latin America and Ghosts, a tale about a haunted luxury apartment complex in the city of Buenos Aires.

Why haven’t I heard of César Aira before? Perhaps because he takes delight in being somewhat obscure. As he stated in an interview, nearly half of his ninety titles are pamphlets or booklets, many less than twenty pages. Since by his reckoning every story is a book, he prefers small, independent publishers willing to print a limited run. Therefore, he surmises, if someone really wants to read his books, they will find them.

I'm delighted I did just that! The Literary Conference is my first César Aira and it will certainly not be my last.

I was under the impression The Literary Conference would be about, well, a literary conference, featuring famous Latin American authors discussing the aesthetics of literature. I found to my astonishment, what begins as international adventure shifts to a comic version of mad scientist taking over the world via cloning and then again to B-movie, a science fiction monster flick, all the while offering meditations on the nature of art and creativity - contained in a mere eighty-five pages.

The narrator, a playwright with the name César, travels to Venezuela, to the coastal town of Macuto wherein he solves the centuries-long enigma of the Macuto Line and its sunken treasure. Just the right vibration from his fingers on the old hemp line and ta-da! - treasure miraculously falls at his feet. My sense is this piece of authorial legerdemain serves to remind us we are, after all, being told a tale and if the storyteller wants riches at the feet of César (perhaps César Aira himself?), then that’s what will bloody well happen.

Moreover, the Macuto Line could be taken as metaphor: the author engaging his imagination as the rope to guide himself down to the lower depths of his own psyche in order to mine a treasure chest of images and words he can bring to the surface and thus compose the very novella we are reading.

We arrive at the actual conference itself, not exactly a round table discussion, more an extension of César’s internal dialogue. One of the first observations made is how the tale he is relaying must be kept clear since poetic fog horrifies him. However, he acknowledges a fable provides the foundational logic for his story and that fable requires the underlying logic of yet again another fable. And the story we are reading provides the logic for a second story. Does all this Russian dolls story within a story remind you of anything? It does for me: One Thousand and One Nights of Scheherazade, among César Aira’s favorite modes of storytelling.

César goes on to relate how there was once a mad scientist who allowed the clones he created to roam the streets of his neighborhood. Ultimately the mad scientist needed CONTROL and the best way to maintain such control was to clone a superior man. And what will be the nature of such a superior man? Ah, according to the mad scientist, an individual having achieved greatness in the realm of high culture, things like philosophy, literature, history and being steeped in the classics.

César then reveals the truth: the mad scientist in question is none other than himself. And who does César judge the superior man fit for cloning? Why, of course, that giant of world literature – Mexico’s Carlos Fuentes. Permit me a side note: a number of years ago American men and women were asked what individual should be cloned to improve the quality of life within the United States. The results were divided: half the Americans polled voted for Albert Einstein and the other half for Michael Jordan. Perhaps a combination of both would be ideal - theoretical physicists who could tear up a basketball court.

Whacky weird, bugged out bizarre and Kool-Aid kooky from here on out. Thus I will shift from the narrator's singular story to a number of his reflections sweetly seasoning this literary conference confection. Firstly, how “language has shaped our expectations so extensively that real reality has become the most detached and incomprehensible one of all.” Indeed, our view of ourselves and others, our notions of life and death and everything in between is a combination of fact and fiction. And because we coat our world with the thick syrup of language, I suspect the split is along the lines of 2% fact, 98% fiction.

“My Great Work is secret, clandestine, and encompasses my life in its entirety, even its most insignificant folds and those that seem the most banal. Until now I have concealed my purpose under the accommodating guise of literature.” Hmmm, is the narrator (César Aira himself?) suggesting there is an underlying riddle to be solved along the lines of Hugh Vereker’s literary puzzle in Henry James’ The Figure in the Carpet? What a tantalizing prospect! No wonder a number of literary critics have linked Aira with his fellow countryman, Jorge Luis Borges.

“I was considering, with amazement, the quantity of things that were happening to me while nothing was happening. I noticed this as my pen was moving: there were thousands of tiny incidents, all full of meaning. I’ve had to pick and choose carefully, otherwise the list would be endless.” Thank goodness César can choose wisely; otherwise The Literary Conference might include enough peregrinations, colloquies and bagatelles to fill hundreds of pages.

“Only through minimalism is it possible to achieve the asymmetry that for me is the flower of art; complications inevitably form heavy symmetries, which are vulgar and overwrought.” At eighty-five pages, The Literary Conference undoubtedly qualifies as minimal in terms of length. And César Aira’s style is the opposite of heavy, vulgar and overwrought; rather, the author has created a little book chock full of ideas and philosophy that’s sheer fun, all within a breezy storyline too preposterous to be read without a smile. ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Mar 31, 2018 |
This short book is the first thing I have read by Aria. While it gets confusing in sections I think it's a lovey sci fi-ish plot that is told really well, and with beautiful writing. It's not an "easy" read but it's a good read. ( )
  SadieRuin | Sep 11, 2017 |
Cloning, literature, aging, swimming, and boozing. These are the topics with which the author constructs his reflection upon his life and his work.

The style is playful: Aira often steps outside of his role as narrator and criticizes his own writing or else to make some philosophical observation that surpasses the frame of the story.

This novel is very cleverly constructed. Aira begins with an introductory story which is instantly mystifying and therefore engaging. From that point he takes us into something much headier and riddled with philosophical meanderings, but we tolerate that ride because the first story provides a promise of something equally enthralling before the close of the book. And of course, he delivers that enthralling moment inside of the last 20 pages.

This book is an excellent mix of philosophical banter and other-worldly drama. ( )
  jantz | Jan 1, 2017 |
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

César is a translator who's fallen on very hard times due to the global economic downturn; he is also an author, and a mad scientist hell-bent on world domination. On a visit to the beach he intuitively solves an ancient riddle, finds a pirate's treasure, and becomes a very wealthy man. Even so, César's bid for world domination comes first and so he attends a literary conference to be near the man whose clone he hopes will lead an army to victory: the world-renowned Mexican author, Carlos Fuentes. A comic science fiction fantasy of the first order,The Literary Conference is the perfect vehicle for César Aira's take over of literature in the 21st century.

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