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The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira Paperback – 2 Nov 2012

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Aira, Cesar

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fantastical, quirky, and delightful 4 July 2013
By R. M. Peterson - Published on
Format: Paperback
César Aira may be the most prolific and the most distinctive living writer within my reading universe. He has published at least sixty works of fiction (most of novella length), and he continues to produce two to four works a year. Somewhere I read that he begins a novella with only a rough idea of setting and theme, and then he simply writes, with very little revision, letting the work develop (or not) as his instincts guide him. At times, this leads the reader (or this reader) into bewilderment and even isolated patches of boredom, but in general his approach engenders curiosity over where Aira's quirky stream of consciousness will head next, and sometimes "next" turns out to be a delightful surprise.

THE MIRACLE CURES OF DR. AIRA was the seventh of Aira's works (there since has been an eighth) to be translated into English and published by New Directions. It is the fourth that I have read, and the one I enjoyed the most. For a long stretch in the middle of the novella, however, I was dissatisfied with it, as I had become badly disoriented. I sensed that the tale as a whole was an allegory of some sort, but of what? Everything came together in the last thirteen pages, and I trust I am not irredeemably spoiling matters when I say that Dr. Aira's miracle cures turn out to be works of fiction. What do they cure? Are they cures for everyone or just for Dr. Aira (who is the very thinly disguised alter ego of César Aira)? These are the sorts of questions I leave for other readers. For myself, I will have them in mind when I next read MIRACLE CURES - something I intend to do soon, as it only eighty pages (and hence can be read in two hours) and is highly intriguing.
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