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The Divorce


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

The Divorce 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.

"[A] fleeting glance at the deeply strange multitudes living in Aira’s mind palace...marked by not only his characteristically expressive language, but also his willingness to go just about anywhere with a narrative."
― Kirkus

"This prismatic, exquisitely rendered work is from a master at the height of his powers."
― Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Sui generis is really the only way to accurately describe César Aira. He’s by turns a realist, a magical realist and a surrealist ― and therefore not really any of them. Anything can happen in an Aira novel, and almost everything does."
― Tyler Malone, Los Angeles Times

"We come full circle, to the 'delicate machine' that put everything in motion. In someone else’s hands, this might feel like a trick, but in Aira’s it is magical."
― Sheila Glaser, New York Times Book Review

"The Divorce is a masterful demonstration of focused imagination. Aira chronicles overlapping coincidences, layering memory with temporality and injecting magic into the mundane to create a kaleidoscopic tale of serendipitous meetings that rumbles like an avalanche down a mountain, gathering speed and power as the novel progresses. With lightness and verve, Aira twirls the macro with the micro to create a singular novel whose story turns and turns again until it comes full circle, like “that ‘little steel fairy,’ the bicycle, from whose spinning stories are born."
― Alex Crayon, World Literature Today

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