My Year in Books, 2017

But let's start with movies. Ten years ago, the Scottish musician and critic Momus observed that one of the most acclaimed films of 2007, Guillermo del Toro's Spanish-Civil-War fantasy Pan's Labyrinth, was morally and politically simplistic and (or because) artistically complacent. He gave ten objections to the film; I will quote the first two: 1. The … Continue reading My Year in Books, 2017

A Note on Blade Runner 2049

A good, thought-provoking short essay by Christian Lorentzen. I disagree with his interpretation of Blade Runner 2049, though, which he sees as schmaltzy and simplistic. I certainly had problems with it—too slow; too lugubrious; too much spectacle and not enough story; at times while watching it I worried that "2049" might designate not the year … Continue reading A Note on Blade Runner 2049

César Aira, Ema, the Captive

Ema, the Captive by César Aira My rating: 4 of 5 stars Reading and rereading Wilde over the years, I note a fact that his panegyrists seem not even to have suspected: the elementary and demonstrable fact that Wilde is nearly always right. —Jorge Luis Borges, "On Oscar Wilde" (trans. Esther Allen) Art never expresses … Continue reading César Aira, Ema, the Captive

César Aira, How I Became a Nun

How I Became a Nun by César Aira My rating: 3 of 5 stars To recap, following on from my review of the brilliant An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter, César Aira is a prolific Argentine avant-gardist who writes fiction through a method he refers to as a "flight forward": he creates … Continue reading César Aira, How I Became a Nun

César Aira, An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter

An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter by César Aira My rating: 5 of 5 stars This short but grand 2000 novella, seemingly regarded as its prolific author’s masterpiece, is the story of the titular painter, the real-life German landscape artist, Johan Moritz Rugendas, as he suffers a life-altering accident on the Argentine … Continue reading César Aira, An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter