Recommended by Josiah
Before you know it you are no longer young, and by the way, while you were thinking about other things, the world was changing—and then, just as suddenly you realize that you are fifty years old. Aira had anticipated his fiftieth—a time when he would not so much recall years past as look forward to what lies ahead—but the birthday came and went without much ado. It was only months later, while having a somewhat banal conversation with his wife about the phases of the moon, that he realized how little he really knows about his life. In Birthday Aira searches for the events that were significant to him during his first fifty years. Between anecdotes ,and memories, the author ponders the origins of his personal truths, and meditates on literature meant as much for the writer as for the reader, on ignorance, knowledge, and death. Finally, Birthday is a little sad, in a serene, crystal-clear kind of way, which makes it even more irresistible.
"This memoir by Argentine writer César Aira, written for his 50th birthday, is his strongest work to come out in a while — subtle and masterful, though very different from a lot of his other books in its intimate, more direct personal narrative. He finds an access route to the deepest regions of a passing thought without overworking anything. With Aira, you always want to go along for the ride."—Greenlight Bookstore