The Seamstress and the Wind

Feliz Año Nuevo. How did you celebrate the new year? Did you eat 12 grapes or pop a bottle of champagne? We enjoyed a seafood dinner at home and wine from Fort Ross Winery, our neighbor up the road.

This week I started reading The Seamstress and the Wind by Argentinean author César Aira. The translation is by Rosalie Knecht. I’m new to Aira’s work and this short novella had me tucked neatly into it’s story from the start.

César Aira. “She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh, I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath.”

The characters in this novel live in a small, dusty town where folks keep tabs on each other and much speculation is made as to the comings and goings of fellow inhabitants. The protagonist, a man recalling his years as a young boy living in the town, describes country life in detail, from the specific bird calls heard at four in the morning to the obsessive cleanliness of a neighbor as she sweeps her front and back porches multiple times each day.

After her son disappears, the local seamstress is caught up in a voyage across the windy, vast spaces of Patagonia. Aira’s first description of this land is beautiful:

“The abyss that opened before Delia Siffoni had (and still has) a name: Patagonia. When I tell the French I come from there (barely lying) they open their mouths with admiration, almost with incredulity. There are a lot of people all over the world who dream of some day travelling to Patagonia, that extreme end of the planet, a beautiful and inexpressible desert, where any adventure might happen.”

patagonia
Patagonia

I won’t spoil the plot so I’ll leave it at that. I look forward to reading more by César Aira. He’s a prolific author so we have no shortage of titles to choose from. There’s a nice list of his works here on IndieBound.

seamstress_coverV2

Cheers to 2018,

Alison

Images courtesy of zyzzyva.org, explora.com and idiommag.com.

 

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