The Hare

Fiction

César Aira
translated by Nick Caistor

When a Mapuche chief suddenly goes missing, a British naturalist is asked to find him in the vast Argentine pampas

Clarke is a nineteenth-century English naturalist who roams the pampas in search of an elusive animal: the Legibrerian hare, whose defining quality seems to be its ability to fly. The local tribesmen, pointing skyward, tell him about recent sightings of the hare, but then they ask Clarke to help them search for their missing chief, as well. On further investigation Clarke finds more than meets the eye: in the Mapuche and Voroga languages every word has at least two meanings.

Witty, very ironic, and with all the usual Airian digressive magic, The Hare offers subtle reflections on love, Victorian-era colonialism, and the many ambiguities of language.

More Praise…

“Aira’s refusal to make any occurrence definitive gives the world depicted in the novel an element of the absurd. The result can be as frustrating as it is liberating. Whether or not Clarke ultimately catches sight of the hare is beside the point. Even if he found it, we’d soon discover that, maybe, after all, he didn’t. Or that it wasn’t a hare at all.”

The Daily Beast

“You'll find there are few adventures more outrageous, and more unsettling, than this cowboy chase through the pampas in search of the white rabbit.”

— Marcela Valdes, NPR

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