That was the question I found myself asking, over and over again, while reading Cesar Aira’s Ema la Cautiva (“Emma, the Captive”–there’s. Download Citation on ResearchGate | Cruzando fronteras: ‘Ema, la cautiva’ de César Aira | The article deals with the definition of the frontier, in order to. Buy Ema, la cautiva (Spanish Edition): Read 1 Kindle Store Reviews – Amazon. com.

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The character of the landscape changed entirely. Don’t know how I feel about this book.

Esther Allen Art never expresses anything but itself. The writing is gorgeous with a dreamlike quality in the depiction of the life of the indigenous people and their surroundings. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: This book is not yet featured on Listopia.

Ema, la cautiva

I did really enjoy the writing and the simplicity of the daily life described here. Though Aira wrote this book, according to its subscription, the year before the first Alien film’s release, this coincidence is not exactly an accident, as both the avant-garde novel and the pop-culture film franchise are playing emma on the same coupling of narrative genres: The beginning and end of the story were more cogent, but the middle of the story lost me.

We see the strangeness that is Argentina — indeed much stranger than it is in reality today — from the point of view of a French engineer.


Aira’s Author’s Note both clarifies and muddles, as lq he calls the novel a “historiola. There are massive snowstorms. Refresh and try again. Oh, and pheasant farming.

Who could demiurgic David represent if not the film’s maker? And who cares, anyway? At first it really bothered me, so much caautiva and sexual violence written as if it was so normal.

The viewpoint shifts from the Frenchman to one of the female prisoners, Ema, who is granted to him as a concubine.

We see a large herd of miniature seals that totally ignore the prisoners cautivs their escort. Aira also was the literary executor of the complete works of his friend the scabrous poet-novelist Osvaldo Lamborghini — This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

Ema, la Cautiva

The atmosphere is extremely dreamlike and the writing beautifully lyrical although punctuated by episodes of shocking brutality. Family values, the “good” in good cautiv.

I kept asking why this was. The discussion and deep thinking have had a lot to do with questions of the author’s intent.

Ema, la cautiva by César Aira (3 star ratings)

All of us invent a variety of stories ultimately versions of the same story so as to imagine that something has happened to us in the course of our lives: Their town is attacked by Indians from the frontier, however, and the third movement, mimicking the first, features Ema only as a side character as it details the languid, melancholy, Huysmans-like pleasure of prince Hual, on an island sojourn with his courtly retinue, including Ema. Basically, the novel is a simulacrum of a novel that ultimately implies that life itself is a simulacrum.


Robert rated it liked it Jun 07, It may be about impossibility and boredom. It has an independent life, just as Thought has, and develops purely on its own lines.

Ema, la Cautiva by César Aira

We meet the Ema of the title only in passing; she is a “white” convict caring for her child though Aira mocks the arbitrariness of racial classification by noting that she does not at all look white but functions as white in both European and Indian racial economies because both groups wish her to be so for their own purposes. In important moments in Ema’s life, the author doesn’t give us any information.

Ema, “a delicate woman of indeterminate origins” as the back cover explains she is considered white, although she is the same color as the Indian women, with either African or Indian featuresis taken captive from somewhere and journeys across some part of wild Argentina in a cutiva convoy with soldiers and other prisoners.

On this cautivw, he delivers himself of beautifully nihilistic speeches— “Life,” he said, “is a primitive phenomenon, destined to vanish entirely. Aira portrayed her in that way.