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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

The Seamstress and the Wind

César Aira

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To purchase The Seamstress and the Wind

Title: The Seamstress and the Wind
Author: César Aira
Genre: Novel
Written: 1994 (Eng. 2007)
Length: 132 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: The Seamstress and the Wind - US
La costurera y el viento - US
The Seamstress and the Wind - UK
The Seamstress and the Wind - Canada
The Seamstress and the Wind - India
La costurera y el viento - España
  • Spanish title: La costurera y el viento
  • Translated by Rosalie Knecht

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Our Assessment:

B : the usual unusual Airan storytelling

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Publishers Weekly . 30/5/2011 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "Neither tale nor fable nor even novel-like in any traditional sense (be it stream-of-consciousness narrative, automatic writing, experimental fiction, or even magic realism), this reads like a dream interpretation exercise" - Publishers Weekly

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Unlike some of César Aira's work, The Seamstress and the Wind really does hold what its title promises, featuring a seamstress and the wind in prominent roles. But it is still an Airan work of fiction -- as the opening already suggests (or warns):

     These last weeks, since before coming to Paris, I've been looking for a plot for the novel I want to write: a novel of successive adventures, full of anomalies and inventions. Until now nothing occurred to me, except the title, which I've had for years and which I cling to with blank obstinacy: "The Seamstress and the Wind." The heroine has to be a seamstress, at a time when there were seamstresses ... and the wind her antagonist, she sedentary, he a traveler, or the other way around: the art a traveler, the turbulence fixed.
       There is a story-line here, of sorts, as Aira offers reminiscences of his childhood in Colonel Pringles, and takes what appears to be the disappearance of Omar, the son of Delia Siffoni, a seamstress, as a starting point for a wild and desperate chase (cum quest). In pursuit of her boy the seamstress becomes part of a convoy racing through Patagonia -- "Patagonia ... the end of the world ... yes, agreed; but the end of the world is still the world." Eventually she comes across the wind, which (or who) is a protective and powerful (and talkative) entity, ready to help her out.
       This being a work by Aira, however, it's not so much about the plot ....
       Early on Aira notes:
     All this may seem very surreal, but that's not my fault. I realize it seems like an accumulation of absurd elements, in keeping with the surrealist method, a way of attaining a scene of pure invention without the work of inventing it.
       He admits: "My parents were realistic people, the enemies of fantasy", and as if in opposition the boy and then the author are anything but. Here the narrative flows with its "gusts of the imagination", as Aira isn't interested in a straightforward, simply realistic story. It's an odd, turbulent little work of fiction, but for those willing to let themselves be buffeted about by it offers many rewards -- and memorable images and thoughts (such as: "So many years have passed that by now it must be Tuesday !")
       Typically Airan in its unpredictability and imaginative turns and premises, The Seamstress and the Wind is an odd but multifacetedly appealing work.

- M.A.Orthofer, 9 June 2011

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The Seamstress and the Wind: Reviews: César Aira: Other books by César Aira under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Argentinian author César Aira was born in 1949.

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© 2011-2024 the complete review

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