The Divorce rivals The Literary Conference and An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter as my favorite Aira to date. Nutty, full of preposterous coincidence, always veering in impossible directions. We call César Aira a writer of fiction (is he a magical realist? surrealist?) because there's no other name for what he does.
— From Spencer R.
With a preface by the irrepressible Patti Smith, The Divorce is a delightful book of several short amazing stories of chance meetings, bizarre circumstances, and even stranger visions of alternate realities written as only César Aira can
tells about a man who takes a vacation from Providence, R.I. in early December to avoid conflicts with his newly divorced wife and small daughter. He travels to Buenos Aires and there, one afternoon, he encounters a series of the most magical coincidences. While sitting at an outdoor café, absorbed in conversation with a talented video artist, a young man with a bicycle is thoroughly drenched by a downpour of water seemingly from rain caught the night before in the overhead awning. The video artist knows the cyclist, who knew a mad hermetic sculptor, whose family used to take the Hindu God Krishna for walks in the neighborhood. More meetings, more whimsical and clever stories continue to weave reality with the absurd until the final, brilliant, wonderful, cataclysmic ending.
About the Author
was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina in 1949, and has lived in Buenos Aires since 1967. He taught at the University of Buenos Aires (about Copi and Rimbaud) and at the University of Rosario (Constructivism and Mallarmé), and has translated and edited books from France, England, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, and Venezuela. Perhaps one of the most prolific writers in Argentina, and certainly one of the most talked about in Latin America, Aira has published more than 100 books to date in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, and Spain, which have been translated for France, Great Britain, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Romania, Russia, and the United States. One novel, La prueba
, has been made into a feature film, and How I Became a Nun
was chosen as one of Argentina’s ten best books. Besides essays and novels Aira writes regularly for the Spanish newspaper El País
. In addition to winning the 2021 Formentor Prize, he has received a Guggenheim scholarship, and was shortlisted for the Rómulo Gallegos prize and the Booker International Prize.
was born in Newcastle, Australia, in 1962. He studied at the University of Melbourne and taught there, in the French program, from 1995 to 2008. He also taught at the University of Western Sydney, where he was a member of the Writing and Society Research Center. As well as translating nine books by Roberto Bolano and ten books (and counting) by César Aira, he also brought the French author Kaouther Adimi’s Our Riches
into English for New Directions. Andrews has won the Valle-Inclán Prize and the French-American Foundation Translation Prize for his translations. Additionally, he has published the critical studies Poetry and Cosmogony: Science in the Writing of Queneau and Ponge
and Roberto Bolano's Fiction: An Expanding Universe
as well as two collections of poems, Cut Lunch
and Lime Green Chair
, for which he won the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize.Patti Smith
is a poet, performer, visual artist, and author of M Train
and the National Book Award-winning memoir Just Kids
. She has twelve albums, has had numerous gallery shows, and continues to give concerts of her music and poetry. Her books include Early Work
, The Coral Sea
, Witt, Babel, Auguries of Innocence
, Land 250
, and many others. In 2022, Smith was awarded the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize by the Poetry Foundation in recognition of her outstanding lifetime achievement. She lives in New York.