Thursday, August 10, 2017

the last book I ever read (An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter by César Aira, excerpt eight)

from An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter by César Aira:

Whatever the truth of the matter, the Germans found themselves in natural surroundings that were excitingly unfamiliar, so unfamiliar that Rugendas required confirmation from his friend that what he was seeing existed objectively and was not a product of his altered state. Urgent, impertinent birds flung outlandish cries in the tangled vegetation, guinea fowl and hairy rats scampered away before them, powerful yellow pumas kept watch from rock ledges. And the condor soared pensively over the abysses. There were abysses within abysses and trees rose like towers from the deep underground levels. They saw gaudy flowers open, large and small, some with paws, others with rounded kidneys of apple flesh. In the streams there were siren-like mollusks and, at the bottom, always swimming against the current, legions of pink salmon the size of lambs. The deep green of the auraucaria trees thickened to a velvety black or parted to reveal floating landscapes that always seemed upside down. Around the lakes, forests of delicate myrtle, with trunks like tubes of yellow rubber, smooth to the touch and cold as ice. Moss plumped up to form wilderness sofas; the airy lacework of fern fronds quivered nervously.

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