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'Birthday' begins with a fiftieth birthday - not as a marker of what has passed, but with the promise and expectation of what lies ahead. The birthday comes and goes without fanfare, and just a few months later, an apparently banal comment that reveals a gap in the author's knowledge of the world prompts him to sit down in a café and write. As he sifts through anecdotes and weaves memories together, Aira reflects on the origin of his beliefs and his incapacity to live, on literature understood from the author's and the reader's point of view, on death and the Last Judgement.