Birthday -- Cesar Aira
César Aira, at the age of 70, has written over 100 books. How does he do it? Birthday perhaps, answers that question: he keeps getting older. His titular birthday passes with little fanfare. Life clocks one banal routine after the other before unexpectedly spiraling out of control, and not because time is ticking away. Instead, Aira’s world gets rocked by a misconception about the moon—namely, that its phases are caused by the earth’s shadow rather than its position relative to the earth and sun. How could such an enlightened, intelligent man have missed such an elementary fact? Has his writerly career been premised, indeed, existed on similar falsities? Reading Aira at his funniest (and this novel is up there for him) feels like the most joyous, guiltiest pleasure. Like eating cake till it hurts. Genre: philosophical diatribe disguised as memoir; a novel in the service of critiquing itself.