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[Read Kindle] Î The Musical Brain: And Other Stories ô A delirious collection of short stories from the Latin American master of microfiction, C sar Aira the author of at least eighty novels, most of them barely one hundred pages long The Musical Brain Other Stories comprises twenty tales about oddballs, freaks, and loonies Aira, with his fuga hacia adelante or flight forward into the unknown, gives us imponderables to ponder and bizarre and seemingly out of context plot lines, as well as thoughtful and passionate takes on everyday reality The title story, first published in the New Yorker, is the creme de la creme of this exhilarating collection Aira s writing inspires both envy and annoyance The former being theexcruciating Part of his brilliance is in getting carried away, but he doesn t always carry the reader with him His powers are nonetheless undeniable Aira is at his most obnoxious in the penultimate story, but the final one, about the early failures of my favorite jazz musician, Cecil Taylor, cemented my emotional bond with his work I simultaneously look forward to and dread getting into the novellas. This was very thoughtfully given to me on my birthday this year by a writer friend who considers it one of his favorites So for me it was an open invitation to read these pieces as they are but also possibly as a way to understand HIM better, as a writer As for Aira, I don t have a lot to say I will confess that toward the end of the book, I was tempted to skim, as the tone of the pieces really began to drag for me The endlessly discursive style and the mental meandering gets tiresome for th This was very thoughtfully given to me on my birthday this year by a writer friend who considers it one of his favorites So for me it was an open invitation to read these pieces as they are but also possibly as a way to understand HIM better, as a writer As for Aira, I don t have a lot to say I will confess that toward the end of the book, I was tempted to skim, as the tone of the pieces really began to drag for me The endlessly discursive style and the mental meandering gets tiresome for those of us seeking specificity and clarity Part of this might have to do with translation not just translation of language, but translation of personality and culture Totally worth it The Dog story, perhaps one of the finest things I have ever read on the subject of guilt and conscience Utterly and completely human In lieu of a review.Frequently, when reading Aira, you come across passages which suggest the route, by which, he ll proceed with the story not a foreshadowing of the plot, rather a hint of the device, by which, he ll get there For me, it s part of what makes reading him so much fun, e.g Folklore and literature are so full of stories about greedy fools who are punished for their haste, that it makes you think those offers are all too good to be true There are no records or reliable precedent In lieu of a review.Frequently, when reading Aira, you come across passages which suggest the route, by which, he ll proceed with the story not a foreshadowing of the plot, rather a hint of the device, by which, he ll get there For me, it s part of what makes reading him so much fun, e.g Folklore and literature are so full of stories about greedy fools who are punished for their haste, that it makes you think those offers are all too good to be true There are no records or reliable precedents on which to base a decision, because this sort of thing happens only in stories or jokes, so no one has ever really thought about it seriously and in the stories there s always a trick, otherwise it would be no fun and there would be no story At some point, we ve all secretly imagined this happening I had it all worked out, but only for the three wishes scenario The choice the genie had given me was so unexpected, and one of the oppositions was so definitive, that I had to weigh them up, at least or By the thirties, after all, Picasso had been recognized as the pre eminent painter of asymmetrical women complicating the reading of an image by introducing a linguistic detour was just another means of distortion, and in order to underline the importance that he attached to this procedure, he had chosen to apply it to a queen.orThere s also apractical reason, which relates to comprehensibility even the most insignificant details are important for the complete explanation of mechanisms that might, at first glance, seem absurd One has to work through the list of senseless oddities so as not to miss the one that has the magic power to make sense of everything.Other random quotes which appealed to me, some of which suffer from lack of context The game of realism, by its very nature, neutralized everything The hypothesis underlying this study is that human beings act in strict accordance with an instinctive program, which governs all of our actions, however unpredictable or freely chosen they may seem, and that our cultural free will is consequently nothan a kindly illusion with which we dupe ourselves, as much a part of our innate heritage as the rest And the metaphoric forms of flight new jobs, resolutions, self hypnosis were, predictably, even less effective when the literal doesn t work, metaphors are worse than useless If we had known what surrealism was, we would have cried Surrealism is so beautiful It changes everything Then we went back to the normal game like someone going back to sleep, back to efficiency and representation The successiveness of this narration is an unavoidable defect If I were a character in a play, the lack of real privacy would make me feel wary, anxious, and suspicious One way or another I d sense the quiet, attentive presence of the public As to keeping the secret and not betraying the trust that had been placed in me, I could set my mind at rest because labeling something as art dispels all suspicion of reality forever Only time could have provided confirmation of what was happening, but it was the action of time, precisely, that obliterated the traces, or scrambled them, tying them into a knot It wasn t impossible Every impossibility has a basis in the possible After all, one of the men had always had normal size feet, and the other, normal size hands The brain, which is always looking for ways to save energy, cancels or dulls the perceptions that are most frequently repeated in everyday life, skipping over them, taking them for granted, the better to concentrate on what s new, which might be important for survival, whereas familiar features of the environment have been ruled out as potential threatsThe misplaced fact that had always governed my relationship with the two men prevented me from fixing my gaze, in an obvious way at least, on the enormous hands and feet, but I was also inhibited by the very common reluctance which, in my case, was particularly strong, almost a taboo to look in detail at anything monstrous, deformed or horrible, for fear it might become an obsession, or prove to be unforgettable when everything beautiful is forgotten Perhaps this is a remnant of ancestral superstitions Attention skirts around whatever might leave an impression To shut my eyes would have been impolite, as well as impractical Which left me with only one option, peripheral vision 4.something stars, rounded to 5 Few, if any, total misses in the collection in general, each story especially toward the end just seemed to get better than the one that preceded it C sar Aira s influences are rather apparent Marcel Schwob, Raymond Roussel and, of course, Jorge Luis Borges but he ison the side of satire so in his hands symbolism, surrealism and magical realism turn into the weapon of ridicule.The little girl s rapid consumption of novelties was accepted as something natural, even exciting This is how it should always be, some people were thinking, philosophically getting and losing, enjoying and letting go Everything passes, and that s why C sar Aira s influences are rather apparent Marcel Schwob, Raymond Roussel and, of course, Jorge Luis Borges but he ison the side of satire so in his hands symbolism, surrealism and magical realism turn into the weapon of ridicule.The little girl s rapid consumption of novelties was accepted as something natural, even exciting This is how it should always be, some people were thinking, philosophically getting and losing, enjoying and letting go Everything passes, and that s why we re here Eternity and itsor less convincing simulacra are not a part of life In the Cafis my favourite tale in the collection it s a great parable of art and gnoseology The title story The Musical Brain is almost the Kafkian fable of a cryptic metamorphosis but it is a murderous mockery Acts of Charity is an excellent philosophically satiric allegory of wealth and poverty The rich are always seduced by altruism and philanthropy and tempted to be charitable and help the poor But they successfully fight the temptation and in the end win.The way they see it, the poor deserve the conditions they live in, because they re lazy or don t even want to improve themselves whatever you give them will only prolong their poverty They ve never known anything else, and they re satisfied with what they know In merely practical terms, without having to go into moral, historical, or sociological considerations, it s obvious that poverty, especially in its extreme forms, is a phase that societies have to go through, and can t simply be eliminated Why even try The poor live happily with their lacks, and don t even see them as such.Therefore the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer