Design: Gonzalo Muiño
Art direction: Rodrigo Corral
It may seem odd that the text I chose to translate, El Cerebro Musical by César Aira, is bound by a cardboard cover. It is difficult to make out the title and author that are hand-painted on the cover in red and orange against a yellow background, mirroring the red lettering on the cardboard itself. One can still read the address in Buenos Aires where the box was made, and the words "INDUSTRIA ARGENTINA" are still legible under the title. The barcode on the back is not a proof-of-purchase of the book, but rather of some lost transaction made by the supermarket Día. It is a flimsy cover, hardly protecting the text within, but no other copy of this book has these same features. This uniqueness is what has made Eloísa Cartonera, the publishing house in Buenos Aires that creates these cardboard books, an inspiration to other "paper picker presses" throughout Latin America, the subject of documentaries, and the starting point of my own investigation.
Much like Eloísa Cartonera, Aira seems concerned with "much more than just books." He saturates the markets with books marked with his name, if only to demonstrate that no book is the Aira. There is a certain disposable quality to this saturation of the market and it becomes a personal choice which Airas are worth reading and which are 'throw-aways.' [Eloísa Cartonera] converts what was thrown away into a piece of art. Coupled together, Aira and Eloísa Cartonera break down the components of the book into their simplest forms—cover and text—in order to suggest how stories are ephemeral, just like the cardboard ...
Yes, the trees recognized themselves in paper, in books, just as they recognized themselves in all the other things that hadn’t been thought of quite yet, like bedsteads and bagpipes and bonfires, not to mention violins, cricket bats, toothpicks, clothes pegs, chopsticks and misericords. Men and women would sit in the shade of trees, reading books, and the trees, dreaming of all that was to come, saw that they were the books as well as the chairs the men and women sat in, and the combs in the women’s hair, and the shiny handles of the muskets, and the hoops the children chased across the lawns. The trees took pride in the idea of being a book: they thought a book was a noble thing to become, if you had to become anything – a terrible bore to be a rafter, after all, and a wheel would mean such a battering, though of course the travel was a bonus, and what tree in its right mind would wish to be rack, coffin, crucifix, gallows . . .
Two Ghazals by Hafez
Antonio Chen on Taiwanese novelists in 2011
The Fourth Law of Thermodynamics by David Shields
Vedita Cowaloosur on Gopal Gandhi's Bollywoodised translation of Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy
An interview with Max Lane (On the politics of translation)
And yet there are certain features of the photo (something about the arrangement of the objects, the petrified, musical rhododendron, two of its leaves invading the space of the ficus like clouds within a cloud, the grass growing in the planter, which looks more like fire than grass, the everlasting leaning whimsically to the left, the glasses in the center of the table, well away from the edges, except for Kristeva’s, as if the other members of the group were worried they might fall) that suggest a more complex and subtle web of relations among these men and women.
"Keep going," said Belano, "we'll get one."
"What is a catachresis?" I said.
"That one I used to know, but I've forgotten," said Lima.
"It's a metaphor that's become part of common everyday speech and is no longer perceived as a metaphor. For example: needle's eye, bottleneck."
- The Savage Detectives
|Catachresis #9 (legs of the table, the neck of the bottle,|
the elbow of the pipe, the leg of the chair), 2011