That was the question I found myself asking, over and over again, while reading Cesar Aira’s Ema la Cautiva (“Emma, the Captive”–there’s. Download Citation on ResearchGate | Cruzando fronteras: ‘Ema, la cautiva’ de César Aira | The article deals with the definition of the frontier, in order to. Buy Ema, la cautiva (Spanish Edition): Read 1 Kindle Store Reviews – Amazon. com.

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Ema felt to me throughout, as I cauriva, as a horrific embodiment of a male fantasy. It’s hard to say. It begins with a march of Spanish soldiers with a glimpse of a captive woman who later turns out to be Ema. I’m not sure whether it is in this case, though.

Ema, la cautiva by César Aira (3 star ratings)

Maybe she’s just an idea rather than a real character. I enjoyed the almost vertiginous feeling of endless possibilities. It begins with a military caravan of white men and convicts as they cross the pampas to reach a distant European outpost in the wilds of nineteenth-century Argentina.

But the question continues to follow me. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Indians invade settlers but end up withdrawing with freshly printed money.

We see a large herd of miniature seals that totally ignore the prisoners and their escort. I just lw tell what the author’s doing, if he believes in all this misogyny and captivity, or if he’s saying that Ema is a captive even when she’s “free”, and maybe even from the reader truly seeing her. Covenant this weekend; I was surprised to discover that its villain, aside from various iterations of H.

It is a worthy novel to experience. This is really an unexpectedly beautiful read, and like the Monkey Festival in the book, it ends as it begins — with nothing. The writing is gorgeous with a dreamlike quality in the depiction of the life of the indigenous people and their surroundings.

I had accepted a challenge, and turned at least one daily defeat into a victory. Ema, “a delicate woman of indeterminate origins” as the back cover explains she is considered white, although she is the same color as the Indian women, with either African or Indian featuresis taken captive from somewhere and journeys across some part of wild Argentina in a wagon convoy with soldiers and other prisoners. He passes out and bleeds to death, his body left there for three days as the stench circulates.


With Ema, I truly had no idea where the story was leading and what might happen. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Apparently, Aira has said that he often writes without knowing where he is headed.

No really, I actually think that might be what the book is about. The next morning, the fields and the domes of the forest were white, the sky looked like wet paper, and a marvelous silence stretched away in all directions. Ema, The Captive Malaprops Choice. The aesthetics of polite society: I think the key to the aesthetic of this book is that nobody in it ever needs anything.

I’ve never read anything written by this writer. If I do that, as an exercise in alternative interpretation, the novel becomes a deliberate farce, I guess, in a Candide-like way, of a character who decides she is in the best of all possible worlds. The result is a laconic pastoral where horrible things happen, but no one victim or perpetrator seems to care.

Aira and all I can say is this book is akin to the Monkey Festival. When they arrive at the fort which is their destination, she is given a husband, and also becomes a concubine, and also has dates in the woods with an Indian.

Ema, la Cautiva

In important moments in Ema’s life, the author doesn’t give us any information. Good to know that they’re a type of animal that actually exists.

The beginning and end of the story were more cogent, emz the middle of the story lost me. The brunt of the novel seemed almost lackadaisical and without purpose.

I’m sure I missed all sorts of commentary on Aira’s Argentina, but I enjoyed the ride nonetheless. She then shacks up with a gaucho before a raid makes her a prisoner of various Indians. Besides his fiction, and the translation work he does for a living, Aira also writes literary criticism, including monographic studies of Copi, the poet Alejandra Pizarnik, and the nineteenth-century British limerick and nonsense writer Edward Lear.

David rated it liked it Jan 22, Hence Wilde’s theoretical essays and dialogues, which are forthright in their dismissal of extra-artistic interest from art; hence Borges’s equanimity in contemplating the replacement of reality by fictions, the process he narrates again and again, which politico-moral critics try to recoup as a critique of totalitarianism, like trying to convince yourself that pornography is a moral warning against fornication or, as we now call it, objectification.


Ema, moves around from different “camps”, and appears to be a captive, raped, and yet the author wants us to believe she’s okay with this and that she’s an independent woman who can move to other camps? His writing dovetails too neatly with misogyny and male fantasy for me to trust that he knows what he’s doing. Or maybe the novel can be read as an indictment of men treating women like animals, or as a tribute to women’s strength to overcome horrible abuse.

Emma, the captive and the raped young woman with no definite identity, carries on her life as a bird breeder. But he cherished the hope that the task assigned to him would be all-encompassing and absorb his life entirely. Laura Kasinof rated it liked it Sep 01, Aira portrayed her in that way. I don’t think it ever snows in that part of Argentina.

The Indians are known largely for printing their own paper currency in any desired amount. Al principio se presenta como un personaje sin voz y sin nombre, casi imperceptible, casi un objeto. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. In the fourth movement, Ema decides to take some control of her fate by breeding pheasants and thus participating in the complicated and interconnected economies of various Indian nations and the white colonizers—like Espina, like her creator, she too wishes to invent a self-replicating system of arbitrary values.

Ema la Cautiva: Boredom and Indifference | Never Stop Reading

It is not necessarily realistic in an age of realism, nor spiritual in an age of faith. If I had any criticism of the book, it would be how opaque her character is.

The very title of the book makes one wonder: