Cesar Aira

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Cesar Aira (Argentina, 1949)

Emma la Cautiva (1997)

Como me Hice Monja/ How i became a Nun (1998)

"Un Episodio en la Vida del Pintor Viajero/ An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter" (2000) is a brief story set in a mythical past that seems to hide a discussion on the meaning, nature and evolution of art.

German landscape painter Rugendas, heir to a dynasty of painters, who had already traveled to South America for four years and published a popular book of drawings, travels again to South America for 17 years, accompanied by the younger (and mediocre) painter Robert Krause, producing more than 3,000 works. They enjoy the hospitality of the landowner Emilio Godoy and then enter Argentina's pampas but soon find themselves into a wasteland: locusts have destroyed all the vegetation. Rugendas sets out alone to find vegetation and is caught in a terrible storm. Hit twice by lightning, he survives but his foot gets caught in the stirrup of a horse gone crazy. When Krause and the guide finds him, Rugendas is breathing but his face is horribly maimed. Luckily, they reach a big city and a hospital in time to save his life. Rugendas is left horribly disfigured and afflicted by terrible migraines with twitching and hallucinations. To survive the pain, Rugendas becomes addicted to morphine. They return to the Godoy family. Rugendas comes to terms with his appearance by writing letters to his family and friends in Europe. In the letters we discover that Rugendas did not write the book that gave him fame (it was written for him by an art critic) and its lithographs were made by French artists. From the beginning Rugendas had hoped to witness a raid by the "Indians". It happened while he was convalescing and he promptly decided to remain and paint the Indians rather than flee the scene. He covered his face so not to terrorize the soldiers and followed them. An attack caused him to lose consciousness. When he awoke again, he took his mask off and, half blinded by the drugs, took to painting erratically. When the battle ended Rugendas wasn't satisfied and decided to walk into the camp of the Indians and paint them while they were celebrating by the fire. The Indians were initially shocked to see the monster appear out of nowhere, but then let him do his job and he happily got on his manic drawing mission, taking advantage of the distortions caused by the flames and by his own hallucinated mind.

La Mendiga (2002)

Canto Castrado (2003)

Una Novela China (2004)

El Bautismo (2004)

Las Noches de Flores (2004)

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