27 October 2012

12 October 2012

Aira on past tense

In the May issue of the Colombian magazine El Malpensante, Guillermo Martínez questions your idea of “diminishing returns” and its influence on cultural criticism and narrative in Argentina.

[Translator's Note: Writing about the “myth of the avant garde” in literature, Aira has said, “To go just one step beyond, as Proust did, requires an unheard of effort and an entire life’s sacrifice. The law of diminishing returns is in effect, by which the innovator covers nearly the entire field in his initial gesture, and leaves those who come after him with an increasingly smaller space, where it is difficult to move forward.”]

I didn’t know Martínez was criticizing me again. The last time I saw him, I advised him not to write his stories and novels in the present tense. Maybe he took it hard. I think almost all the prose works being published by young writers in Argentina are written with the verbs in the present tense. I don’t know why these authors don’t realize how much that detracts from their writing. The story becomes flat, it loses perspective, it takes on an oral tone, but a cheap kind of oral tone, like a witness to a car accident being interviewed by a television reporter.

- from a Two-part interview with César Aira

02 October 2012

A peek at Woes of the True Policeman

The ARC cover of RB's last unfinished novel, translated by Natasha Wimmer and available next month (click on the images to enlarge):

The editorial note, written by Carolina López, Bolaño's widow.


(Images courtesy of Michael P.)

01 October 2012

The ghost's member


"The naked men shouted louder and louder as if competing with each other. They were dirty like builders, and had the same kind of bodies: rather stocky, solid, with small feet, and rough hands. Their toes were spread widely, like wild men's toes. They were behaving like badly brought-up children. But they were adults. A builder who happenned to be passing by with a bucketful of rubble on the way to the skip stretched out his free hand and, without stopping, grasped the penis of one of the naked men and kept walking. The member stretched out to a length of two yards, then three, five, ten, all the way to the sidewalk. When he let it go, it slapped back into place with a noise whose weird harmonics went on echoing off the unplastered concrete walls and the stairs without marble paving, up and down the empty elevator shafts, like the lowest string of a Japanese harp." (from Ghosts, trans. Chris Andrews)