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The Musical Brain
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About the Author

Cesar Aira was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, in 1949. Wildly popular in Latin America, he has published more than seventy books of short fictions and essays. The poet Chris Andrews has translated many books by Roberto Bolano and Cesar Aira for New Directions.

Reviews

"Once you start reading Aira, you don't want to stop." -- Roberto Bolano "Aira's cubist eye sees from every -angle. The stories in "The Musical Brain" exhibit the continuing narration of Aira's improvisational mind. His characters - whether comic-strip ruffians, apes, subatomic particles or a version of his boyhood self - enter a shifting and tilting landscape of events that unhinge our temporal existence and render it phantasmagorical yet seemingly everyday in the unfolding. His matter-of-fact approach, accepting even the most outlandish episodes, suspends disbelief and encourages one's own sense of displacement, of being released from the commonplace. Hail Cesar!" -- Patti Smith - The New York Times Book Review "Astonishing-turns Don Quixote into Picasso." -- Harper's "Everything in Aira has that Mad Scientist feel to it. " -- The Millions "Exhilarating. Cesar Aira is the Duchamp of Latin American literature. Aira is one of the most provocative and idiosyncratic novelists working in spanish today and should not be missed." -- Natasha Wimmer - The New York Times "Wildly Funny." -- Paris Review "An Aesop in Breton's clothing. " -- Thomas Hachard - Los Angeles Review of Books "Cesar Aira is Argentina's greatest living author." -- Marcela Valdes - The Nation "Cerebral, witty, fanciful and idiosyncratic." -- Aura Estrada - Boston Review "Aira oversteps the bounds of realism, forcing the world to live up to his imagination." -- Benjamin Lytal - The New York Sun "Aira delivers one surreal unraveling of reality after another that proceeds paradox by paradox into psychic realms" -- Michael Upchurch - The Seattle Times "Surreal, witty, and funny. " -- The Guardian "Aira's novels parody narrative form, destroy normal cause and effect, and contain bold conceptual dialogues." -- Michael Eaude - Times Literary Supplement "Aira stresses the sublime without falling back on the props of magical realism" -- Cristopher Byrd - The Believer "The first collection of Aira's stories might be his masterpiece." -- Publishers Weekly, (starred review) "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 - Los Angeles Times "Aira seems fascinated by the idea of storytelling as invention, invention as improvisation, and improvisation as transgression, as getting away with something." -- The New York Review of Books "Aira conjures a languorous, surreal atmosphere of baking heat and quietly menacing shadows that puts one in mind of a painting by de Chirico." -- The New Yorker "Cesar Aira's body of work is a perfect machine for invention." -- Maria Moreno - Bomb "This prolific Argentine writer has inspired a cult following." -- Scott Esposito - Tin House "Logic-defying brilliance." -- Publishers Weekly "Argentine author Cesar Aira is an exquisite miniaturist who toys with avant-garde techniques. His work has drawn comparisons to Vladimir Nabokov and Italo Calvino for its gleeful literary gamesmanship and stories-within-stories." -- The Wall Street Journal "His novels are eccentric clones of reality, where the lights are brighter, the picture is sharper, and everything happens at the speed of thought." -- Jacob Mikanowski - The Millions "What a gift: to look forward to reading a new Aira novel from New Directions every year for the rest of one's life." -- Thomas McGonigle - Los Angeles Times "Irreverent inventiveness...without analogue in contemporary literature" -- Megan Doll - San Francisco Chronicle "One of the most celebrated authors in Latin America." -- New York Observer "A quixotic chemist." -- Michael H. Miller - The American Reader "The novelist who can't be stopped. Aira's novels are dense, unpredictable confections delivered in plain, stealthily lyrical style capable of accommodating his fondness for mixing metaphysics, realism, pulp fiction, and Dadaist incongruities." -- Michael Greenberg - The New York Review of Books "Outlandish B-movie fantasies are all part of the game. His best-known works are nonsensically hysterical. To love Cesar Aira you must have a taste for the absurd, a tolerance for the obscurely philosophical, and a willingness to laugh out loud against your better judgment." -- Marcela Valdes - NPR Books "A distinctive hallucinatory style, which blends together reality and fiction, the waking world and the dream world" -- Chloe Schama - The New Republic "Cesar Aira is the energizer bunny of Latin American literature." -- Tess Lewis - The Hudson Review "Genius. Cesar Aira is a deconstructed Kafka; a compact comprehensible Roberto Bolano obsessed with the frightening nonsense of civilization." -- Joe Gallagher - Ploughshares "Uncanny imagination a la Calvino." -- Laura Pearson - Chicago Tribune "Unsettling and elegant parables." -- Los Angeles Times "Cesar Aira is wild. The laws of gravity do not apply." -- James S. A. Correy - The Denver Post "Aira's works are like slim cabinets of wonder, full of unlikely juxtapositions. His unpredictability is masterful." -- Rivka Galchen - Harper's "Cesar Aira's novels are the narrative equivalent of the Exquisite Corpse, that surrealist parlor game in which players add to drawings or stories without knowledge of previous or subsequent additions. Wildly heterogeneous elements are thrown together, and the final result never fails to surprise and amuse. Aira is wacky enough to play the game by himself, but the reader isn't left out either." -- The Millions "South America's answer to Haruki Murikami." -- Andrew Irvin - Miami Herald "A lampoon of our need for narrative. No one today does megafiction like Aira." -- Robyn Creswell - Paris Review

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