…this post continues yesterday’s odd encounters in the bookstores along Florida street…

Argentine writer César Aira never seems to struggle with the writer’s block, facing the blank page. After all, he has written more than 50 books. Despite his prolific output, I’m having a difficult time finding a wide range of his works in Spanish here in Buenos Aires. (I’m reminded of my long, desperate search last year for a particular set of books by the Uruguayan Eduardo Galeano).

When I go to search for Aira I’m finding only 2 or 3 titles on the bookstore shelves. In one of the four hundred El Ateneo stores on Florida street, I pulled down a copy of Aira’s novel Embalse. I almost purchased it but as I was flipping through the pages I noticed that several pages were blank…page 62 had no ink on the page. Further examination revealed even more pages in the book that were blank…The book was published by Emecé, a fairly large publisher in Argentina. I would think that their quality control would be a lot better.

Then again, I partly wondered, considering Aira’s often eccentric style, if the blank pages were intentional. But I decided it was just a printing error. Yet, I couldn’t help to think of Italo Calvino’s wonderful story that plays with the concept of a reader buying a book with a printing error, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler