HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

How I Became a Nun by César Aira
Loading...

How I Became a Nun (1993)

by César Aira

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1931861,059 (3.65)36

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 36 mentions

English (17)  Spanish (1)  All (18)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
A boy no a girl no a boy child.
Written as if the grown up self is remembering the events of his life at age 6, and trying not to filter it through the lens of reality.
A child's reality is different. Dreams may be real. Reality may seem dream-like. Dreams and reality may be the same. The experience is the reality, whether it is felt in conventional consciousness or altered states.
Memories are distorted, incomplete and fleeting. They are warped by dreams, and dreams are warped by memories.
All culminating in a Grimm-like ending.

( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Great beginning, pretty good ending, much of the middle felt like muddle, but it was short enough that it wasn't a fatal detraction.

The narrator is a young boy or a young girl--the book keeps shifting as to which it is, with no logic that I could discern--who is born in the provinces around Buenos Aires in the 1930s. The book begins with his/her first taste of ice cream, which is tainted with food poisoning. A poignant scene of the father not understanding why he/she does not like the ice cream is followed by his losing his temper and murdering the ice cream seller. The next scene is the boy/girl recovering in the hospital and the father away in jail. It continues through the first years of school, narrated in a strange stream-of-consciousness way, and ends, as the back cover of the book nicely puts it, "in strawberry ice cream."

Based on this and Varamo, the other Cesar Aria book I read, he's a fascinating writer with a lot of upside, but not sure if I'm confident enough of anything else to take the (shallow) plunge again. ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
I came across an article somewhere that hotly recommended Aira's work — the most exciting Argentine novelist of our time, or words to that effect — so I thought I'd give him a try. Discovering that his novels are short — this one's barely more than a novella — encouraged my experimental zeal.

Despite the title, our narrator may be a boy rather than a girl: sometimes the text says one, sometimes the other. This is either annoying or amusing in a whimsical sort of a way, depending on the reader's mood/temperament; personally I rather enjoyed the uncertainty, as a sort of nose-thumbing at a very basic narrative convention. There's a far bigger nose-thumbing at narrative conventions later, but to find out what it is you'll have to either read the book or bribe me.

Whatever, the book starts with our hero(ine) being fed tainted ice cream by a negligent vendor; our hero(ine)'s father, irate, promptly smothers the vendor in his own poisoned confection. To say that the rest of the book is the tale of what happens to the child over the next few months/years as Dad's in prison would be technically accurate, but really the novel's overarching story isn't all that important — to the point that it's quite often lost sight of. Instead the main focus is on a succession of lesser stories, anecdote-style accounts of
some of the quirky events in the narrator's young life. And it's in these that Aira shows his real narrative power: I was both rapt and grinning a lot.

Overall, though, this is a fairly slight work. I enjoyed it, but I can't imagine I'll be making any concerted effort to hunt down other Aira novels . . . although if I see one on a shelf somewhere I might well pick it up. ( )
  JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
4 vote bostonbibliophile | Nov 8, 2012 |
An odd little novel. It's easier to say what this novel is not than to say what it is. Lay reviewers have complained at not knowing the sex of the first-person narrator; this seems pointless. The writing is compelling, straightahead, details returning in slightly shifted focus, characters clearly presented with intriguing surfaces if enigmatic depths. Not magic realism; not OuLiPo; not Surrealism. Fast; entertaining. ( )
  pieterpad | Jul 17, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
César Airaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Laabs, KlausTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0811216314, Paperback)

A sinisterly funny modern-day Through the Looking Glass that begins with cyanide poisoning and ends in strawberry ice cream.

"My story, the story of 'how I became a nun,' began very early in my life; I had just turned six. The beginning is marked by a vivid memory, which I can reconstruct down to the last detail. Before, there is nothing, and after, everything is an extension of the same vivid memory, continuous and unbroken, including the intervals of sleep, up to the point where I took the veil ." So starts Cesar Aira's astounding "autobiographical" novel. Intense and perfect, this invented narrative of childhood experience bristles with dramatic humor at each stage of growing up: a first ice cream, school, reading, games, friendship. The novel begins in Aira's hometown, Coronel Pringles. As self-awareness grows, the story rushes forward in a torrent of anecdotes which transform a world of uneventful happiness into something else: the anecdote becomes adventure, and adventure, fable, and then legend. Between memory and oblivion, reality and fiction, Cesar Aira's How I Became a Nun retains childhood's main treasures: the reality of fable and the delirium of invention.

A few days after his fiftieth birthday, Aira noticed the thin rim of the moon, visible despite the rising sun. When his wife explained the phenomenon to him he was shocked that for fifty years he had known nothing about "something so obvious, so visible." This epiphany led him to write How I Became a Nun. With a subtle and melancholic sense of humor he reflects on his failures, on the meaning of life and the importance of literature.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:42 -0400)

Narrative of childhood experience bristles with dramatic humor at each stage of growing up: a first ice cream, school, reading, games, friendship. The novel begins in Aira's hometown, Coronel Pringles. As self-awareness grows, the story rushes forward in a torrent of anecdotes which transform a world of uneventful happiness into something else: the anecdote becomes adventure, and adventure, fable, and then legend.… (more)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
50 wanted4 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.65)
0.5
1 1
1.5 1
2 5
2.5 2
3 13
3.5 5
4 21
4.5 4
5 10

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 113,235,088 books! | Top bar: Always visible