César Aira: Las aventuras de Barbaverde [The Adventures of Barbaverde]


The latest addition to my website is César Aira‘s Las aventuras de Barbaverde [The Adventures of Barbaverde]. Yes, I am afraid yet another novel in Spanish that has not been translated into English (and many more to come, I regret.) This is now the eighth of his works that I have read, four of which have not yet been translated into English though he is so prolific, it must be hard for the translators and publishers to keep up. This one was something of a disappointment, compared to his usual works. It is a parody of the superhero/science fiction novel, featuring a superhero called Barbaverde (= Green Beard) who is barely seen in the novel, fighting his implacable foe, Frasca (who is also barely seen). There are four separate stories in the book and the main character is a rather naive journalists called Aldo Sabor from Rosario in Argentina, who is in love with an installation artist, Karina, and who inadvertently assists Barbaverde in saving the world. Aira mocks the genre but it also gets rather silly as we see a giant fish hovering over Rosario, toy soldiers that come to life and an attempt to destroy the present, leaving only the future and the past. It is still worthwhile reading, as is anything by Aira but not his best.

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