Gracias Cesar Aira for a solid few hours lepping along through The Miracle Cures of Dr Aira (New Directions) last night. Aira is the ultimate racehorse of a writer, nose forward, except he refuses to capitulate to the fences and ploughs into the watery troughs in enlightening ways. Were he an actual racehorse he’d be standing on said nose, wagon wheeling his legs and doing these kinds of equine circus tricks in a mash up of show jumping and racing on a dirt track road in front of a dentist’s office.
The Miracle Cures of Dr Aira seemed in its subtext to be a clinical depiction of the struggle to create narrative but told obviously through the fictional struggle to fix medical maladies.
On the last page, Aira (scribbler not fictional Dr) caved in and took the dia-morphine (sp?). This was a pity. He merely put the cap on the bottle, when all the way along it was a bottle of a book that called for no cap. And he was so intent on the unexpected. But perhaps that choice speaks to bailing out on miracles. Perhaps it is legitimate to bail out on miracles? More advisable to bail in on narrative in my opinion. I’ll be bailing in with Cesar Aira and will next read his Portrait of a Landscape Painter when I can get my fingertips on it.
Also, I have not encountered a miracle healer since Brian Friel’s play The Faith Healer which I saw at the Royal Court in London one rainy night so many, many years ago. It was the theatre that often staged Carol Churchill’s (why do I think I’ve spelt her first name wrong it needs a y in it I think?) and the remarkable one woman show by Emily Woof (What happened to Emily ?) who first introduced me to cross genre-blending with music, trapeze, literature and theatre. Back to The Faith Healer … Grace was played by Sinead Cusack who bailed so far into that role, I can still see her face in it.