From an interview with Chris Andrews on translating César Aira:
What are some of the qualities that distinguish Aira’s prose from his South American contemporaries, or that make it a particular challenge to translate?
One quality that’s distinctive among writers of an experimental bent is his limpidity: his prose rarely draws attention to itself; most of the time, the reader is fully occupied imagining what is being recounted and described. Aira has said that the “correctness” of his prose, which he has sometimes rebelled against (as in How I Became a Nun), may have been a side effect of his work as a translator. But as anyone who has read him knows, the “correctness” is only syntactic: his sentences are well formed, as the linguists say, but his stories and his books are, well . . . deformed, swerving wildly, jumping from one kind of fiction to another, as in “The Musical Brain.”
I said that his prose is limpid and visual, but I should add that it can be abstract as well. In his books, the narrator and the characters, regardless of education or social background, are liable to set off on conceptual excursions, and the difficulty for the translator, for this one, anyway, is following the train of thought, because it moves so quickly and it’s so playful. It’s a bit like watching a brilliant, mischievous mathematician at the blackboard, working through a proof: he’s skipping the “obvious” steps and at some point he may start pulling your leg.