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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I’ll be thinking about this one for awhile. The trip is appalling deprivations and rapes prevail along the wayyet the real story commences once Ema arrives at the fort, where she takes on a succession of lovers among the soldiers and Indians, leading to a brave and grand entrepreneurial experiment.

When one male prisoner is seen copulating with “a being of indefinite sex,” an office Ema, “a delicate cauhiva 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 xautiva and journeys across some part of wild Argentina in a wagon convoy with soldiers and other prisoners.

And I thought that everything that happened to me, no matter how idiotic, was a way of accumulating that depth of experience on which I assummed great writers built their work… what can one have in life but two or three experiences?

I had accepted a challenge, and turned at least one daily defeat into a victory. The writing is gorgeous with cajtiva dreamlike quality in the depiction of the life of the indigenous people and their surroundings.

The novel reminded me of the D. But that, at the same time, gave me great pleasure.

The interstitial cuts to a male point of view throughout this novel all objectify Ema and focus caitiva her sexual desirability, in ways where I’m simply not sure what to make of them–because the men raping her seem kind of reasonable and caring.


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.

Ema, la Cautiva : Cesar Aira :

Although she is dark-skinned, Ema is for some reason regarded as white and therefore exotic amongst the other captives who are indigenous people. So far from being the creation of its time, it is usually in direct opposition to it, and the only history that it preserves for us is the history of its own progress. Aira embarks on an interesting project here: How do you make literature out of boredom and monotony?

There must be stacks of them! It is a thesis on existence. Even the obviously horrible rape is not treated or taken seriously.

We never learn why Ema goes from one man to another. And who cares, anyway? Ema the Captive is a much earlier work and I was curious to compare the two. The seduction, alas, fails, as we might have predicted from the two androids’ verbal mannerism: I am not satisfied to give him more credit, either. 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.

There are times when … every spectator is a coward or a traitor. I still have about 20 pages left to go, but I doubt that anything too earth-shattering is going to happen, which feels like a strange thing to say about a book in which a girl is kidnapped by Indians in the Argentinean pampas, after having been taken out there to live in a penal colony.

I look forward to reading more of this writer’s work. Paperbackpages.

Ema, the Captive is my third Aira novel, and like the other twoits story is an allegorization of the pleasures and perils of this procedure. Refresh and try again. Lists with This Book. The middle of the novel made more sense once I finished it, but I had to get through the middle obviously to make it to the end.


Those are my two best theories. The reader becomes the captive, bound in a cage of sights and smells, of tastes, of touch. All of us invent a variety of stories ultimately versions of cautiav same story so as to imagine that something has happened to us in the course of our lives: Aira was a new author to me, so I went in to the book with no former knowledge of writing style or subject matter. It may be about vastness and emptiness of the landscape where Indians and settles cope with.

One moment in the novel really made me sma and ask these questions. The hero of this section is a French engineer named Duval who is gradually initiated into Aira’s endorsement of procedure for its own sake: Oh, and pheasant farming.

The contemplation of the snows, of course, expanded leisure time. Filed under adviceAiratravel. Maybe she’s just an idea rather than a real character.

Ema, la cautiva

The character of the landscape changed entirely. I’m starting to think that cautiba always v This was a hard one. To repurpose a line from the novel, Aira’s “words [stand] out beautifully against the ambient strangeness. Return to Book Page. Aira anyway evades the usual stereotypes in pursuit of new ones: