Festival & Game of the Worlds (Paperback)

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Festival & Game of the Worlds By César Aira, Katherine Silver (Translated by) Cover Image
By César Aira, Katherine Silver (Translated by)
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Oddly twinned masterpieces by one of the greatest fabulists of any age: past, present, or 40,000 years in the future

In Festival, the genius postmodern sci-fi filmmaker Alec Steryx is the star guest of a film festival in an unnamed country. But he’s brought a surprise: his nonagenarian mother. Everyone is baffled: Why? Half-blind and terminally cranky, she does nothing but complain, despite insisting on attending every screening and reception. As Steryx’s mother gums up the works for the festival organizers, larger problems are in store … A delightfully baroque comedy of errors, Festival, is, all at once, a loving parody of the institutions that support artists, a meditation on postmodern art, and a propulsive, lyrical, surreal adventure. 

In the far, far, future, a middle-aged father has fallen behind the times. Bemused and disturbed, he watches his children play the eponymous Game of the Worlds, a Total Reality war game that involves the annihilation of countless alien civilizations—which are at least as real as the narrator’s own. As he debates the ethics of the game, struggles with his home’s “intelligent system,” and fumblingly manipulates his Discourse Corrector (a dead ringer for ChatGPT) on virtual beachside dates, an errant thought threatens to set a world-ending chain of logic into motion: the return of the Idea of God… Epic and domestic, madcap and musing by turns, this prescient novel reads like a message in a bottle from a bewitchingly strange yet all-too familiar future.

About the Author

CÉSAR AIRA was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina in 1949, and has lived in Buenos Aires since 1967. He taught at the University of Buenos Aires (about Copi and Rimbaud) and at the University of Rosario (Constructivism and Mallarmé), and has translated and edited books from France, England, Italy, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, and Venezuela. Perhaps one of the most prolific writers in Argentina, and certainly one of the most talked about in Latin America, Aira has published more than 100 books to date in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile, and Spain, which have been translated for France, Great Britain, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Romania, Russia, and the United States. One novel, La prueba, has been made into a feature film, and How I Became a Nun was chosen as one of Argentina’s ten best books. Besides essays and novels Aira writes regularly for the Spanish newspaper El País. In addition to winning the 2021 Formentor Prize, he has received a Guggenheim scholarship, and was shortlisted for the Rómulo Gallegos prize and the Booker International Prize.


Katherine Silver's award-winning translations include works by María Sonia Cristoff, Daniel Sada, César Aira, Julio Cortázar, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Julio Ramón Ribeyro. The author of Echo Under Story, she volunteers as an interpreter for asylum seekers.

Praise For…

César Aira is an amazing writer whose works, of rare genius, are passed on as a secret among an ever-widening sect of enthusiasts.
— Josep Massot - La Vanguardia

Never tedious, always thoughtful, Aira’s prose moves with great agility and effortless depth.
— Publishers Weekly

Aira’s stories seem like fragments of an infinite and interconnected universe in constant expansion.
— Patti Smith

Once you start reading Aira, you don’t want to stop.
— Roberto Bolaño

Aira’s unpredictability is masterful.
— Rivka Galchen - Harper’s

Reality bites in these odd portraits of people unmoored by their own sense of how things work.
— Kirkus Reviews
Product Details
ISBN: 9780811237307
ISBN-10: 0811237303
Publisher: New Directions
Publication Date: July 23rd, 2024
Pages: 192
Language: English