Mark Doty on Cesar Aira’s “An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter”

by Mary Doty | Jun-03-2007

The month of June kicks off Reading the World. As part of this project, the NBCC has asked writers from around the globe to recommend a book from beyond these shores. We asked NBCC-winning poet and memoirist Mark Doty what he had to recommend and he responded by picking Cesar Aira's "An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter."

"This startlingly compact novel (just 87 pages) concerns the sufferings of a German painter, Johann Rugendas, who journeyed into Latin America in the first half of the 19th century with the intention of recording the landscape for art buyers back home. But Rugendas is practically destroyed when he enters into the alluring emptiness of the Pampas, and this bracingly strange little book becomes a meditation on representation, what art costs us, and on the encounter between worlds."

--Mark Doty

About the Critical Mass Blog

Commentary on literary criticism, publishing, writing, and all things NBCC related. It's written by independent members of the NBCC Board of Directors (see list of bloggers below).


Categories & Archives

Join the NBCC/Renew
Emerging Critics

NBCC Awards

Finalists for 2018

See all award winners

Find out how to submit

Read how we select

Frequently Asked Questions

Videos and Podcasts

NBCC 2018 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2017 Awards Ceremony

NBCC 2017 Finalists Reading

All videos and podcasts.