César Aira: Yo era una mujer casada [I Was a Married Woman]

The latest addition to my website is César Aira‘s Yo era una mujer casada [I Was a Married Woman], one of his stories that has not (yet) been published in English. This one tells of a woman, Gladys, in a terrible marriage. Her husband abuses her, drinks, does drugs and takes all her money (she is the sole breadwinner). She has no real friends, only imaginary ones, her parents are on the other side of Buenos Aires and she rarely sees them. She does not leave him saying it could be worse. She is surprised when he decides to visit them but horrified when he returns with a box which, when she opens it, contains the heads of her parents. Eventually, but only after a few days, she realises that they are not real heads but merely models, made by a sculptor friend of her husband. She subsequently gets very ill and, when she returns from hospital, finds her husband has sold most of her possessions and is sitting in a chair, in a catatonic state. She does find a solution but not even vaguely the obvious one, involving a magic carpet, a ruby and, in particular, a statue hidden away in a poor neighbourhood.

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