Cesar Aira's An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter captures a moment in the life of the German artist Johann Moritz Rugendas. Greatly admired as a master landscape painter, he was advised by Alexander von Humboldt to record the spectacular landscapes of Chile, Argentina and Mexico. Rugendas did in fact become one of the best nineteenth-century European painters to venture into Latin America. However, this is not a biography of Rugendas, but rather a work of fiction which weaves an almost surreal history around Rugendas' trips to Argentina where he strived to achieve in art the 'physiognomic totality' of Humboldt's scientific vision of the whole. A brief and dramatic visit to the pampas gives him the chance to fulfill his ambition but a strange episode that he cannot avoid absorbing savagely into his own body interrupts the trip and irreversibly marks him for life . . .Praise for Cesar Aira:'Once you've started reading Aira, you don't want to stop' Roberto Bolaño'Aira is firmly in the tradition of Jorge Luis Borges and W. G. Sebald' Los Angeles TimesCesar Aira was born in Coronel Pringles, Argentina, in 1949, and has lived in Buenos Aires since 1967. One of the most prolific writers in Argentina, Aira has published more than seventy books.