Mostly, I’m just really glad I’m not sixteen any more. The crushing insecurity then is exacerbated by 24/7 bullying on social media now – not to mention the knife crime, the violence, who’d want it?
Marcia doesn’t seem to like it much – she knows she’s not pretty, except pretty depressed. She walks to keep herself alive: hunkering down, avoiding all contact, she keeps moving.
Until Lenin and Mao, two extraordinarily beautiful punks, yank her into their world. It’s an adventure. Risky of course, but new. Finally, a real conversation is starting, and something is happening. But if Marcia wants to join in, she’ll have to commit:
The pace of César Aira’s novelita has been cracking up to that point, but now it really takes off. There will be blood, and guts, and tills-full of cash, but to say any more would be to spoil the story.
It’s easy to see why Nick Caistor’s translation won an English PEN Award, but not so easy to believe Aira himself is going on 70 – until you realize he’s published more stories than the number of years he’s lived. The Proof was published by And Other Stories in the UK 4 weeks ago, and will be published in the US by New Directions in 3 weeks’ time. If you can’t wait till then, you can see another translators’ take on him at the fabulous Short Story Project. You’ll probably wolf it in one sitting – like I did with The Proof.