Sunday, June 12, 2016

César Aira, "The Musical Brain" (signed, first edition, New Directions, 2015)



Last year I had the pleasure of seeing César Aira read from his recent collection of short stories The Musical Brain. This event took place at the estimable Greenlight Bookstore on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, and I believe was considered the book's launch party. I had been on the fence about Aira for a while -- I discovered him like most while riding the great Roberto Bolano wave of 2009, and I had difficulty separating Aira's work from Bolano's, since they were so often praised in the same breath. But now that Bolano's been sort of 'secured' in the canon and finally left alone (everything ever has finally been published) I can re-discover César Aira as a separate, kinetic writer. He was brilliant at the reading and I'm looking forward to reading more. I'm still working my way through The Musical Brain here and there, and I've got a galley of Ema the Captive that I'm looking for (which will be published this December).

The Musical Brain has a fantastic design - not only is it Aira's only hardcover with New Directions, it features a lenticular cover of a neon hand tapping out a rhythm:


Further, the signature here is particularly notable. I did a quick look online to retailers and there isn't a single signed book by César Aira out there for purchase. There's no telling what the value might be here (no real comparables) -- Aira seemed quite reluctant to sign books at all in Brooklyn, so there might not be many of these out there at all.


Currently reading:
Swamp Thing by Alan Moore

Currently Listening to:
Ork Records: New York, New York (Numero Group)

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