By César Aira

An unbelievable novel from Argentina that may be a meditation at the attractive and the gruesome in nature, the paintings of panorama portray, and one adventure in a man's lifestyles that turned a lightning rod for inspiration.

An Episode within the lifetime of a panorama Painter is the tale of a second within the lifetime of the German artist Johan Moritz Rugendas (1802-1858). enormously in demand as a grasp panorama painter, he was once prompt through Alexander von Humboldt to commute West from Europe to checklist the impressive landscapes of Chile, Argentina, and Mexico. Rugendas did in truth develop into the most effective of the nineteenth-century ecu painters to enterprise into Latin the US. even though this isn't a biography of Rugendas. This paintings of fiction weaves a nearly surreal heritage round the mystery aim at the back of Rugendas' journeys to the United States: to go to Argentina so as to in achieving in artwork the "physiognomic totality" of von Humboldt's medical imaginative and prescient of the total. Rugendas is confident that in basic terms within the mysterious vastness of the sizeable plains will he locate actual idea. a quick and dramatic stopover at to Mendosa supplies him the opportunity to satisfy his dream. From there he travels directly out onto the pampas, praying for that most unlikely second, which might come in simple terms at a tremendous pricean virtually monstrously exorbitant cost that will finally problem his drawing and strength him to create a brand new manner of creating paintings. an odd episode that he couldn't keep away from soaking up savagely into his personal physique interrupts the journey and irreversibly and explosively marks him for all times.

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Additional resources for An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter (New Directions Paperbook)

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People had been repeating it for decades, wherever he went. He had learnt to be wary of such advice. How did they know what he should paint? At this point in his career, within reach of the vast emptiness of the pampas, the art most authentically his own was, he felt, drawing him in the opposite direction. In spite of which, Godoy's descriptions set him dreaming. In his imagination, the Indians' realm of ice was more beautiful and mysterious than any picture he was capable of painting. Meanwhile, what he was capable of painting took a new and rather unexpected, form.

Luckily the vegetation provided plenty of shade; the foliage filled the air with oxygen, so breathing, when possible, was very restorative. Armed with letters of introduction from Chilean friends, the travelers stayed at the house of the attentive and hospitable Godoy de Villanueva family. A large house overshadowed by trees, with an orchard and various little gardens. Three generations inhabited the ancestral home in harmony, and the smaller children rode around on tricycles, which Rugendas duly sketched in his notebooks; he had never seen them before.

The books of his that I have been able to find were published by Mondadori and Tusquets Argentina. It's frustrating, because once you've started reading Aira, you don't want to stop. His novels seem to put the theories of Gombrowicz into practice, except, and the difference is fundamental, that Gombrowicz was the abbot of a luxurious imaginary monastery, while Aira is a nun or novice among the Discalced Carmelites of the Word. Sometimes he is reminiscent of Roussel (Roussel on his knees in a bath red with blood), but the only living writer to whom he can be compared is Barcelona's Enrique Vila-Matas.

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