As a result, he had to invent a history which was not history. Despite the apparent contradiction, such a thing was not very mysterious. The majority of histories were not histories. It seemed to him that it was very simple to enlace some things with others from a vague proclaiming of knowing. "You will know this, and when you know it you will know this other..." From this he thematized its own chain; there there was a secret joke, because who was proposing to know was he himself, and the text was his tool. (p. 43)
Because poetry, not wanting to say anything with the instrument that served in order to say things, said something, which was at the time something and nothing. He loved that enigma, but he was convinced that it could not last. It was too extravagant. That it was the most precious. Ephemeral, poetry was a rare flower which had opened itself through by chance, and the miracle had desired that it opened itself just when he lived. In the future, a more reasonable humanity would have good use of prose. (p. 45)
Argentine author César Aira often utilizes sparse, quick-hitting prose pieces that rarely extend more than 120 pages to discuss elements of human fear, imagination, and inspiration in ways that grab a reader's attention. In his 2005 novel, Parménides, he mixes fact and fiction, historia con historia, in order to explore relationships between belief and truth and reality and imagination. This story begins in a Greek colony in the Calabria region of southern Italy, with a ruler named Parmenides commissioning a young poet, Perinola, to write a book for him that would bear Parmenides' name. Readers who are aware of just who the historical Parmenides is might have just had their metaphorical ears perk up, but for those unaware, let's just say that choosing this historical personage to be a ruler is one more level of Aira's blurring of fact and fiction in this tale.
Parmenides wants Perinola to compose a poem that would encompass Parmenides' thoughts and attitudes on Nature; the details Perinola is to glean from observing the ruler. In reading this, I could not help but to think that it was fortuitous that I read this book just after