I read César Aira's An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter a couple of years back now, I think, and remember it very warmly. I need to re-read it, for sure, and I'm spurred to do so as orbis quintus reminds me that a new Aira translation is just about to hit the streets:
Ghosts, the just-released-in-translation novel by César Aira, is (like his earlier books How I Became a Nun and An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter) one of the most uniquely, genuinely odd books you’re likely to stumble across. No one (to my knowledge) is doing anything quite like what Aira does in his fiction. Short books that nevertheless derail themselves, meander, drift, and stretch out while all the while remaining fascinating.
Attempting to summarize Ghosts is futile. It is set in an unfinished luxury apartment building. There are digressions on the symbolism of human self-organization, on hairstyles in Latin America, on class divisions. There are fireworks and curious children. There are ghosts. (More...)