written by Cesar Aira
New South | ISBN 9781920882860
Paperback – 128 pages
Member’s price: $21.60
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Varamo is the story of how, on an ordinary day in 1923, a middle-aged Panamanian public servant is paid his salary in counterfeit notes, and by the next morning has written a great avant-garde poem. Consumed by anxiety about how to dispose of the notes, Varamo ricochets from one encounter to another: with a chauffeur suspected of leading a black uprising and a madman demanding repayment of an imaginary debt, a paranoid mother and a comatose cabinet minister whose car has been overturned, two genteel golf-club-smuggling sisters, an obliging maid called ‘the last woman’ and three pirate publishers who finally push him to write ‘that celebrated masterpiece of modern Central American poetry, The Song of the Virgin Child.’ It is a comic vision of life, surreal and logical at the same time, with impossible complications leading to a triumphant resolution.