Ghosts (Paperback)

Ghosts Cover Image
By César Aira, Chris Andrews (Translated by)
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Other Books in Series

This is book number 1133 in the New Directions Paperbook series.


The most unsettling and stunning of Aira's short novels published by New Directions.

"On a building site of a new, luxury apartment building, visitors looked up at the strange, irregular form of the water tank that crowned the edifice, and the big parabolic dish that would supply television images to all the floors. On the edge of the dish, a sharp metallic edge on which no bird would have dared to perch, three completely naked men were sitting, with their faces turned up to the midday sun; no one saw them, of course." — from Ghosts

Ghosts is about a construction worker's family squatting on a building site. They all see large and handsome ghosts around their quarters, but the teenage daughter is the most curious. Her questions about them become more and more heartfelt until the story reaches a critical, chilling moment when the mother realizes that her daughter's life hangs in the balance.

About the Author

Nominated for a Neustadt award and the Man Booker International Prize, César Aira was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, in 1949. He has published at least one hundred books and recently created a limited edition, “Valise,” for the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.

The poet Chris Andrews teaches at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, where he is a member of the Writing and Society Research Centre. He has translated books by Roberto Bolano and César Aira for New Directions. He has won the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize for his poetry and the Valle-Inclan Prize for his translations.

Praise For…

Wonderful... Ghosts is an incitement to the sensuality of thought, of wonder, of questioning, of anticipation.

— Thomas McGonigle

A languorous, surreal atmosphere of baking heat and quietly menacing shadows... puts one in mind of a painting by de Chirico.

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

Utterly astonishing.

Aira's literary significance, like that of many other science fiction writers, comes from how he pushes us to question the porous line between fact and fantasy, to see it not only as malleable in history, but also blurred in the everyday. The engrossing power of his work, though, comes from how he carries out these feats: with the inexhaustible energy and pleasure of a child chasing after imaginary enemies in the park.

Ghosts has some serious bite, for such a little book. Within it Aira likens literature to a building that has never been built, to an architect's dream. And though he never comes out and says it, I get the sense that for him the reader is always a ghost, haunting the unbuilt and the imagined, flying through time to attend to the party on the page.

— Emily Keeler

Product Details
ISBN: 9780811217422
ISBN-10: 0811217426
Publisher: New Directions
Publication Date: February 24th, 2009
Pages: 144
Language: English
Series: New Directions Paperbook