martes, 31 de diciembre de 2013

The Argentinean Literature of Doom: Año 2: December Links

 "The insidious power of this book convinced me that I need to collect all of Aira in English."
Rise, in lieu of a field guide, details below*

The Argentinean Literature of Doom: Año 2 bacchanalia is now over, kind of, but there's no need for any of you to get depressed about it just because Osvaldo Lamborghini was a no-show this year.  Of course, weeping and gnashing of teeth are still acceptable and even encouraged forms of behavior under the circumstances.  In any event, here's December's Doom link action (November's links can be found here) with a special thanks to Scott for supplying another great César Aira post and an appreciative thanks to Rise, Scott, and Tom for playing along in the first place.  You guys are hardcore!

Richard, Caravana de recuerdos
"Torito" by Julio Cortázar
El camino de Ida by Ricardo Piglia
"El uruguayo" by Copi
El sueño de los héroes by Adolfo Bioy Casares
Autobiografía de Irene by Silvina Ocampo (edit: link added 1/14)
Las armas secretas by Julio Cortázar
Los Fantasmas by César Aira
La última de César Aira by Ariel Idez

Scott, seraillon

Since I've fallen behind on my ALoD:A2 reviews and, let's face it, am probably far more likely to flake out than to deliver a reasonably coherent post well after the fact anyway, I thought I'd assemble an all-tournament team for the event for your imaginary reading pleasure.  In no particular order, such a team would have to consist of César Aira's The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira (still unread by me but raved about by all the other "judges" on the "panel") and Los Fantasmas, Adolfo Bioy Casares' El sueño de los héroes, and Juan José Saer's El limonero real among the novels and novellas and Copi's "El uruguayo," Julio Cortázar's "Torito," Silvina Ocampo's "El impostor," and Néstor Perlongher's "Evita vive" among the short stories (*Rise, so often ahead of his time in these matters, wrote a great short reaction to the translation of Los Fantasmas [Ghosts] way back in 2010--please check it out).  A stellar bunch all in all: longtime favorites Fogwill and Ricardo Piglia got left off the team even though I loved the stuff I read by them, and I could have easily added more/different Cortázar and Ocampo stories.  Go figure.

21 golazos de 2013

1) Los Fantasmas, de César Aira (1990)
reseña pendiente [review pending]

2) Le Colonel Chabert, de Honoré de Balzac (1832)

3) Woodcutters, de Thomas Bernhard (1984)

4) El sueño de los héroes, de Adolfo Bioy Casares (1954)

5) Life and Fate, de Vasily Grossman (1960)
Introduction + Links

6) Gran Sertón: Veredas #1 y #2, de João Guimarães Rosa (1956)

entradas afines [related posts]
"¿Epopeya del sertón, Torre de Babel o manual de satanismo?"
"Prólogo" to Gran Sertón: Veredas
"Recepción en España de Gran sertón: veredas"
"The Contemporary Brazilian Novel"
"JOÃO GUIMARÃES ROSA, or the Third Bank of the River"

7) The Ambassadors, de Henry James (1903)

8-17) Los Diez mejores Goles, de Lionel Messi (sin fecha)

18) Para una tumba sin nombre, de Juan Carlos Onetti (1959)

19) The Radetzky March, de Joseph Roth (1932)

20) El limonero real, de Juan José Saer (1974)

21) The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, de Muriel Spark (1961)

*en orden alfabético por autor [in alphabetical order by author]*

domingo, 15 de diciembre de 2013

El sueño de los héroes

El sueño de los héroes (Alianza Editorial/Emecé, 1984)
by Adolfo Bioy Casares
Argentina, 1954

A lo largo de tres días y de tres noches del carnaval de 1927 la vida de Emilio Gauna logró su primera y misteriosa culminación.  Que alguien haya previsto el terrible término acordado y, desde lejos, haya alterado el fluir de los acontecimientos, es un punto difícil de resolver.  Por cierto, una solución que señalara a un oscuro demiurgo como autor de los hechos que la pobre y presurosa inteligencia humana vagamente atribuye al destino, más que una luz nueva añadiría un problema nuevo.  Lo que Gauna entrevió hacia el final de la tercera noche llegó a ser para él como un ansiado objeto mágico, obtenido y perdido en una prodigiosa aventura.  Indagar esa experiencia, recuperarla, fue en los años inmediatos la conversada tarea que tanto lo desacreditó ante los amigos.
(El sueño de los héroes, 7)

[During the three days and nights of the carnival of 1927 the life of Emilio Gauna reached its first mysterious climax.  It is difficult to decide whether someone had foreseen the terrible end decreed and had altered the chain of events from afar.  Of course to claim that an obscure demiurge was responsible for events which our poor human intelligence in its haste vaguely attributes to destiny, would add a new problem without shedding new light.  What Gauna glimpsed toward the end of the third night became for him like a magic possession he longed to regain, won and lost in a marvelous adventure.  In the years immediately following he became obsessed with trying to investigate and recall that experience.  This constant topic of conversation greatly discredited him in the eyes of his friends.]
(The Dream of Heroes, translated from the Spanish by Diana Thorold,* 1)
Buenos Aires, 1927.  Having just won a thousand pesos at the track, the twenty-one year old Emilio Gauna invites a group of his friends to help him spend the money during the last three nights of the carnival.  "Ya sobrará tiempo para ahorrar y sacrificarse" ["There'll be plenty of time later to save and scrape"], says Gauna.  "Esta vez nos divertiremos todos" ["This time we're all going to enjoy ourselves" (9, 3 in translation).  After a three night bender indulged in by all, Gauna wakes up alone on the jetty of the lake in Palermo without knowing how he'd arrived there and with only some vague recollections having to do with an enchanting masked woman, found and then lost during the tumult of the carnival revelry, and of a knife fight waged under the light of the moon, "entre árboles, rodeado por gente" ["among trees, surrounded by people"] (23, 19 in translation), pitting him against his not entirely trustworthy friend Dr. Valerga.  Had the young man merely dreamed all this in an alcoholic haze?  Three years later, now married to a girl named Clara but still immaturely obsessed with what he refers to as "la aventura de los lagos" ["the adventure of the lakes"] or "el misterio de los lagos" ["the mystery of the lakes"] (26 & 30, 23 & 30 in translation), Gauna fixates on the carnival of 1930 to see if, by retracing his steps in the company of his drinking companions, he'll somehow be able to repeat the experience of the 1927 carnival and summon up the mysterious masked woman who had so captivated him and recall all he had forgotten about that presumably magical last night that had haunted him ever since.  Not the sort of premise I usually go for but one that Adolfo Bioy Casares seizes on to deliver a stone cold sucker punch of a novel that just clobbered me with its soulfulness and its invention.  Truth be told, El sueño de los héroes has a little of everything that you could possibly want in a "carnival novel"--moments of high intensity writing; an unpredictable plotline; a moving love story; meditations on time and fate on a par with Borges' "El sur"; a modern reworking of the quest romance with some unexpectedly fine scenes dedicated to the friendship between Gauna and his roommate Larsen; and this being "old" Buenos Aires, lots of knife fights and unsavory underworld scenes--all delivered by an avuncular but altogether slippery narrator whose identity is itself unknown.  What more could you want?  To give you an example of the high wire risks Bioy Casares is willing to take on in the service of his story, he introduces a potentially ridiculous character named the Brujo Taboada whom the Dream of Heroes translator Diana Thorold refers to as the Sorcerer Taboada.  Although neither Gauna nor his companions profess to believe in the Sorcerer's powers, they pay him a visit anyway, half out of boredom and half on a dare.  Kind of silly?  That's what I feared at first until I read Taboada telling Gauna this: "En el futuro corre, como un río, nuestro destino, según lo dibujamos aquí abajo.  En el futuro está todo, porque todo es posible.  Allí usted murió la semana pasada y allí está viviendo para siempre.  Allí usted se ha convertido en un hombre razonable y también se ha convertido en Valerga" ["Our destiny flows into the future like a river; that's how we imagine it down here.  In the future everything exists because everything is possible.  There you died last week and there you are alive for ever.  There you have become a reasonable man and there you have become Valerga"] (35, 37 in translation).  "There you died last week"?  That got my attention.  As it turns out, Gauna's future wife Clara just happens to be Taboada's daughter, and Taboada eventually tells her that he'd interrupted Gauna's destiny.  When Taboada himself dies and our hero's preoccupation with the carnival of 1927 begins to complicate his relationship with his wife, the narrator intrudes into the story jongleur-like to pass along the following personal opinion to his audience: "El destino es una útil invención de los hombres.  ¿Qué habría pasado si algunos hechos hubieran sido distintos?  Ocurrió lo que debía ocurrir; esta modesta enseñanza resplandece con luz humilde, pero diáfana, en la historia que les refiero.  Sin embargo, yo sigo creyendo que la suerte de Gauna y de Clara sería otra si el Brujo no hubiese muerto" ["The concept of destiny is a useful invention by man.  What would have happened if certain events had been different?  What happened is what had to happen--a modest lesson that shines with a humble but diaphanous light in the story I am now telling you.  Nevertheless, I still believe that the fate of Gauna and Clara would have been different if the Sorcerer had not died"] (116, 133 in translation).  This tension between the predetermined, the unavoidable and the alterable parts of one's destiny is maintained with admirable subtlety up until the very end of the novel.  The problem with all this?  Even Gauna eventually learns that "el presente es único" ["there can only be one present"] (151, 176 in translation).  A banality?  Perhaps.  Or at least that seems like it might be the case until the moment when the third nights of the carnivals in 1927 and 1930 finally manage to merge before our eyes in a feat of exemplary storytelling.  Although I won't say any more about how the novel resolves Gauna's attempt to return to his past, a quest that our poor hero will find entails more than its fair share of sordidness and brutality directed at men and women, children and beasts--"Él miro los ojos del caballo tendido en el suelo.  Por ese dolor, por esa tristeza, manifestaba su partipación en la vida" ["He looked at the eyes of the horse stretched out on the ground.  By the pain and sadness expressed in those eyes, the animal showed that it was still clinging avidly to life"] (144, 167-168 in translation)--I'd be remiss if I didn't share one more example of the novelist's bag of narrative tricks.  This is how the narrator opens one of the concluding chapters: "Ahora hay que andar despacio, muy cuidadosamente.  Lo que de contar es tan extraño, que si no explico todo con claridad no me entenderán ni me creerán.  Ahora empieza la parte mágica de este relato; o tal vez todo él fuera mágico y sólo nosotros no hayamos advertido su verdadera naturaleza.  El tono de Buenos Aires, descreído y vulgar, tal vez nos engaño" [I must now proceed slowly and very carefully.  What I have to tell is so strange that if I do not explain it all clearly no one will understand or believe me.  Now begins the magical part of this story, or perhaps it has all been magical, only we have failed to perceive its true nature.  We may have been misled by the atmosphere of Buenos Aires, sceptical and vulgar" (161, 189 in translation).  Not much to add to that other than, whether magical or sceptical and vulgar or all of the above, I completely fell for this book and fell hard unexpectedly.  No complaints from here.

Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914-1999)

*I read the embarrassingly ugly 1984 Argentinean and Spanish edition of El sueño de los héroes pictured at the top of this post.  To give you a smoother translation experience for a change, I borrowed all quotes in English from the almost equally ugly British edition of The Dream of Heroes translated by Diana Thorold for Quartet Books in 1987.

jueves, 12 de diciembre de 2013

El uruguayo

"El uruguayo" ["L'Uruguayen"]
by Copi [translated from the French by Enrique Vila-Matas]
France, 1972

Copi's wild art terrorist short story "El uruguayo" ["The Uruguayan"; titre original: "L'Uruguayen"; subgenre: cataclysmic comedy] is prob. the closest thing I've yet seen to a blueprint for César Aira at his most out, so it's a good thing that Aira has a 1991 book out on Copi so I can eventually figure out what I mean by that comparison.  The tale begins as a letter from a student, conveniently named Copi, to his pedantic ex-teacher and ex-lover in Douce France.  Having escaped to the distant city of Montevideo for reasons, "confesémoslo de entrada" ["let's be honest about it up front"], that now escape him (27), the irrepressible young narrator takes advantage of the local color to mix in a succession of attacks on Uruguay and its people and even its language in between the insults he's constantly lobbing at his "beloved" Maestro like so many verbal hand grenades.  Given that the outlandish tone of much of the character Copi's insult merriment recalls another Montevidean, namely Le Comte de Lautréamont, you don't need to look at that unhinged photo of the actor and author Copi decked out as Evita above to know that this metamorphosis story disguised as a scornful travelogue is going to end badly for somebody.  In point of fact, in the course of becoming canonized for his ability to perform miracles, Copi witnesses the destruction of Montevideo by sand, gnaws on his dead dog's bones to stave off hunger, is present at the aerial bombardment of soldiers on the beach, sleeps with and then falls in love with a corpse, watches the President of the Uruguayan Republic get recruited by the sham Pope of Argentina to work in Argentina's whorehouses--"Se lo vestía de bailarina española y había cola para sodomizarlo" ["He was dressed up as a Spanish ballerina, and there was a line to sodomize him"] (60)--agrees to mutilate himself to provide both a disguise and relics for his canonization, and then spends a somewhat happy night with the Uruguayan president's head stuck between his knees.  He also sees thousands of (temporarily) dead Uruguayans resurrected thanks to his labors, but I have no time to go into all the medical details here.  A non-Airean highlight: Copi (Raúl Damonte, 1939-1987), who was born in Argentina, spent a good chunk of his childhood in Uruguay, and then relocated to France for good, a perpetual exile it would appear, wrote this as a dedication for "El uruguayo": "Al Uruguay, país donde pasé los años capitales de mi vida, el humilde homenaje de este libro, escrito en francés, pero pensado en uruguayo" ["To Uruguay, country where I spent the capital years of my life, the humble homage of this book, written in French but thought out in Uruguayan"] (27).  An Airean highlight: After the disaster in Uruguay, Copi tells the Maestro that he's thinking of giving a sort of post-apocalyptic Christmas present to his dead girlfriend.  "Usted me dirá: ¿Cómo se lo va a hacer para saber que es Navidad?  Y es ahí donde puedo contestarle: usted no ha entendido nada de mi relato: Navidad llegará cuando yo la decida, y esto es todo" ["You will tell me: 'How are you going to know that it's Christmas?'  And that's when I can tell you: you haven't understood anything about my tale--Christmas will arrive when I decide it will, and that's that"] (45).  Another non-Airean highlight (52):

Hemos decidido de común acuerdo que mi canonización ha de quedar en secreto (es una idea del presidente) puesto que si los uruguayos vinieran a comprobar mi santidad, automáticamente se creerían dioses (dada la idea que ellos se hacen de mí es casi seguro que cada uno de ellos se creería el díos de mi religión) y esto despertaría entre ellos una rivalidad muy peligrosa puesto que, siendo bastante agresivos de naturaleza, comenzarían a matarse entre ellos sin más, lo que sería poco caritativo por parte de un santo incluso falsificado, como es mi caso.  Así pues mi canonización debe quedar anónima, es decir que hay que dar con la manera no sólo de esconderla a los uruguayos sino de hacerles creer que yo soy un uruguayo como ellos.

[We have decided by common agreement that my canonization has to remain a secret (this is the President's idea) given that, if the Uruguayans ever came to verify my saintliness, they would automatically believe themselves to be gods (given that the idea that they have of me is almost certainly that each one of them would believe himself to be the god of my religion) and this would awaken a very dangerous rivalry among them given that, being fairly aggressive by nature, they'd begin killing themselves without any further ado, which would hardly be charitable on the part of a saint, even a falsified one as in my case.  So my canonization must remain anonymous, which is to say that not only must it be kept hidden from the Uruguayans but it must be done so in a way that makes them believe that I'm a Uruguayan just like them.]

"El uruguayo," sometimes classed as a novella but to me more like a long short story, appears on pages 27-62 of the Hector Libertella-compiled 11 relatos argentinos del siglo XX (Una antología alternativa), Buenos Aires: Perfil Libros, 1997, alongside these other Argentinean "alternative canon" tales by César Aira, Osvaldo Lamborghini, Alejandra Pizarnik, and Juan Rodolfo Wilcock.  Fitting company.

martes, 10 de diciembre de 2013

El camino de Ida

El camino de Ida (Anagrama, 2013)
por Ricardo Piglia
Argentina, 2013

Leí la última de Piglia, obra que mezcla una historia sentimental con un argumento adoptado de la novela negra literaria y que lleva una fuerte crítica de la llamada "guerra contra el terror" estadounidense además de algunas meditaciones sobre la figura del escritor (auto)exiliado, casi de un tirón.  Qué libro jugoso, che, qué libro jugoso.  Emilio Renzi, a deriva después de divorciarse en Buenos Aires, traslada a una universidad estilo Ivy League en New Jersey, EE.UU, para ofrecer un curso graduado sobre la literatura argentina del autor Guillermo Enrique Hudson (que, según he entendido, nació argentino y se murió inglés).  Por ahí en "el ombligo de la bestia", el autoexiliado Renzi empieza mantener relaciones secretas con la profesora estadounidense Ida Brown, una estrella académica que de repente muere bajo circunstancias más bien misteriosas.  ¿Fue ella un suicidio, la víctima de un asesinato o una terrorista clandestina sí misma que murió como el resultado de un acidente durante la comisión de un crimen?  Con su gran destreza de costumbre, Piglia plantea un problema formal --¿en qué consiste el mapa de una vida?-- al mismo tiempo que nos mete dentro de un mundo narrativo más y más claustrofóbico en cuanto al punto de vista del protagonista: por, mientras que el Visiting Professor Renzi contrata a un detective privado para saber más acerca de la muerte de su ex amante, se da cuenta que él mismo es una "persona de interés" en la investigación sobre la muerte llevada a cabo por el FBI y otras agencias nacionales superpoderosas.  Aunque se destacan muchos momentos en El camino de Ida donde el protagonista Renzi subraya los paralelos entre la táctica de la guerra contra el terror en los Estados Unidos de hoy y la Guerra Sucia en Argentina durante la época de los militares, uno no debe pensar que el tema sea pesado.  Por ejemplo, no es que falte un sentido de humor en la novela ("Era una señora, con el leve aspecto demencial que tienen siempre las mujeres que se dedican a cuidar gatos perdidos", dice Renzi en algún momento [140]).  Y, además de lo de  Hudson, hay guiños literarios a la vida de otros autores exiliados como Hermann Broch, Joseph Conrad (El agente secreto juega un papel importante), e incluso nuestro amigo Juan José Saer: "'Faulkner y Fitzgerald se ahogaron en alcohol, yo me ahogaré en la universidad', como decía mi amigo el poeta santafecino que enseñaba en Francia" (168).  Pero, de verdad, ¿en qué consiste el mapa de una vida según la perspectiva de la novela?  El personaje  Renzi nos da una pista al hablar de la enorme cantidad de información obtenida por el aparato investigador del estado:  "'Por qué todos esos datos?  Rutina, dijo Parker.  Lo llaman el profile pero de ahí es difícil deducir los actos y las decisiones, son sólo el marco, el mapa de una vida" (130).  Divertido y sugestivo.


Había visitado en la cárcel durante años al Beto Carranza, un amigo que había tenido la fortuna de caer preso antes del golpe militar de 1976, y a pesar de que sufrió la tortura y varios simulacros de fusilamiento fue puesto a disposición del Poder Ejecutivo y se salvó de ser asesinado clandestinamente.  En la cárcel de Devoto, cuando lo visitaba, en esos años los guardias te avisaban que estabas fichado, te preguntaban si eras de la orga, si eras trosko o puto, si eras judío y comunista (o sólo judío) y al final te pedían plata para cigarillos.  Los amigos de los detenidos pasábamos efectivamente cartas escritas con letra microscópica en papeles de armar cigarillos o transmitíamos mensajes aprendidos de memoria.  Me acuerdo de que cuando Carranza aparecía en la sala de visitas estaba siempre contento y era optimista y nos daba esperanza a nosotros, que veníamos de la calle.
(El camino de Ida, 269-270)

 Mario de QUADERNO RIBADABIA tiene una muy buena reseña de El camino de Ida que se puede leer aquí.

jueves, 5 de diciembre de 2013


by Julio Cortázar
France, c. 1956

Judging by the ridiculous number of his short stories which are still awaiting a translation nearly thirty years after his death, Julio Cortázar hasn't exactly been served well by his translators.  Which is a particular shame when it comes to "Torito" because, aside from the power of the Argentine's imagination, this hard-nosed, gym rat's boxing tale has virtually nothing in common with the more cerebral Cortázar you might be acquainted with from his early "fantastic"/"surrealist" stories or those intellectual assassin tendencies on display in Rayuela.  It is, instead, a two-paragraph, seven-page monologual "cross to the jaw" that reminds me of Arlt and Onetti at their most primal.  For those of you who are already familiar with Cortázar's famous assertion that "la novela gana siempre por puntos, mientras que el cuento debe ganar por knockout" ["while the novel always wins on points, the short story should win by knockout"], I suppose it's entirely reasonable to ask: where does this story's punching power come from?  Technically, by far the coolest thing about "Torito" is that it's delivered in pre-World War II lunfardo, the one-time Buenos Aires underworld slang here peppered with Italianisms.  The narrative voice itself belongs to real-life 1930s Argentinean boxing hero Justo "El Torito de Mataderos" Suárez (photo, above), reminiscing about his heyday to a silent interlocutor who just might be you, the reader: "Qué le vas a hacer, ñato, cuando estás abajo todos te fajan.  Todos, che, hasta el más maula.  Te sacuden contra las sogas, te encajan la biaba" ["What are you gonna do, man, when you're down, everybody lays into you.  Everybody, che, even the biggest coward.  They get you up against the ropes, they dish out the punishment"] (475).  However, an equally powerful weapon in Cortázar's arsenal is the authenticity he's able to establish through his narrator's monologue.  Even if the real star of "Torito" is its language as Cortázar is said to have maintained, that's no reason to undervalue authentically sweat-soaked moments like this one where the boxer recalls the night he knocked out the British champ--"pobre rubio, lindo pibe" ["poor blonde guy, handsome kid"]--with a right hook at a bout where the Prince of England was in attendance ringside (478-479):

Te juro que me quedé frío cuando lo vi patas arriba.  Qué manera de dormir, pobre tipo.  Esa vez no me dio gusto ganar, más lindo hubiera sido una linda agarrada, cuatro o cinco vueltas como con el Tani o con el yoni aquel, Herman se llamaba, uno que venía con un auto colorado y una pinta bárbara.  Cobró, pero fue lindo.  Qué leñada, mama mía.

 [I swear it gave me the chills when I saw him feet up.  What a way to sleep, poor guy.  It didn't give me any pleasure to win that time, a nice brawl would have been more like it, four or five rounds like with el Tani or that American guy, Herman, he was called, the one who showed up with a red car and mean looking as hell.  He paid, too, but it was beautiful.  What a beating, mama mía.]

On that note, I guess it's worth mentioning that the intersection between the fictionalized boxer and the biography of the real life "Torito" ["Little Bull"] Suárez might also help explain some of this story's emotional appeal.  Cortázar's Torito tells us that "todo el mundo cobra a la final" ["the whole world pays in the end"] (476), a boxing lesson with hints of a non-boxing meaning when he later adds: "Lástima esta tos, te agarra descuidado y te dobla" ["A pain this cough, it grabs you unawares and doubles you up in two"] (481).  The real life Torito, the lightweight who used boxing to escape a childhood of poverty in Buenos Aires' slaughterhouse district and eventually became so wildly popular that tango songs were written about him, died of tuberculosis at the age of 29.
Here's a link to the story for those who read Spanish.
Better yet, here's a link to Cortázar reading "Torito" in its entirety.  I suspect you can get a great sense of the rhythm of the story from Cortázar even if you don't know any Spanish at all.

I read "Torito" in Saúl Yurkievich's edition of Cortázar's Obras completas I: Cuentos (Barcelona: Galaxia Gutenberg, 2003, 475-481) because it was easy enough to get a hold of.  However, the edition of the story I'd really love to get my mitts on is the one put out by Eloísa Cartonera pictured above. Rise from Bifurcaria bifurcata wrote a post about Eloísa Cartonera and César Aira a couple of years ago--fine reading if you don't mind lusting after books that are almost impossible to find outside of La Boca in Buenos Aires.  ¡La pucha!

domingo, 1 de diciembre de 2013

The Argentinean Literature of Doom: Año 2: November Links

The Argentinean Literature of Doom: Año 2, currently starring noted thespians César Aira, Fogwill, Martín Kohan, Silvina Ocampo, Néstor Perlongher, Juan José Saer, and César Aira yet again, continues its off-, off-, off-Broadway run throughout the month of December.  Please feel free to catch a show or, failing that, to catch up with any of the life-affirming extravaganzas you missed in November via the links below.  Thanks to ALoD:A2 impresarios Rise and Tom for contributing César Aira pieces for this year's series.

P.S. As a reminder to anybody still mulling it over, I'll be hosting a year-long Ibero-American Readalong beginning in January and February 2014 with a reread of Roberto Bolaño's 2666.  Details at the link above--hope you can join me/us for a group read title or two as the year unwinds or challenge me to read an "Ibero-American" book with you sometime in 2014.  That'd be cool.  Later.

Amateur Reader (Tom), Wuthering Expectations

Richard, Caravana de recuerdos
Help a él by Fogwill
El limonero real by Juan José Saer
Bahía Blanca by Martín Kohan
"Evita vive" by Néstor Perlongher

Rise, in lieu of a field guide