the short story project

The Dog

Adam Blumenthal On:

The Dog by César Aira

We’re all haunted by something. Guilt, an unscrupulous act, some hurt we’ve caused. Some authors address the issue in obvious, direct, grandiose ways. César Aira takes a different approach, offering up an apparently unimportant, convoluted, unreal anecdote. A dog starts to chase a bus, the passengers see it and look at each other quizzically. The bus goes on and on but the dog won’t give up. It runs and barks, its eyes always on the bus. What does it want? Who is it chasing? Why? The narrator compresses and stretches time, using all the analytical tools he can think of to try to explain this improbable phenomenon and how it might be related to him, but sometimes an external reality intrudes upon our lives and decides our fate without our ever truly understanding why.