Blow-up and Other Stories

Blow-up and Other StoriesA Young Girl Spends Her Summer Vacation In A Country House Where A Tiger RoamsA Man Reading A Mystery Finds Out Too Late That He Is The Murderer S VictimIn The Stories Collected Here Including Blow Up On Which Antonioni Based His Film Julio Cortazar Explores The Boundary Where The Everyday Meets The Mysterious, Perhaps Even The Terrible This Is The Most Brilliant And Celebrated Book Of Short Stories By A Master Of The Form. . .. Oh, Julio, if I could just have a moment to talk to you You are up here in your heavenly jazz tree, on a higher branch then where I am sitting, laughing at the sadness of the world stuck in its own grass and mortar rather than taking a ride in the whirlwind of imagination, reading Blow Up, Axolotl, House Taken Over, Continuity of Parks, End of the Game and other stories in this little book of yours You play the divine trumpet, buzzing your lips on the horn of plenty, the jazz of words, improvising, taking a look inside, your fantasy being the fun stuff, exciting, the way you take a certain vision, say the room in a house, and come up with a story where the room is taken over by a mysterious presence.If the man in another story, like Blow Up, starts saying funny, nonsensical things, then you simply ball up his talking and throw it against your imagination and the story slides into its rightful place Up here in the tree with your trumpet, no branch is too high for you to climb to pick the fruit of words, a word on each leaf, some pretty exotic fruit up here in your jazz tree Suddenly, I hear a voice down below asking What is Julio Cort zar d
The author has made Axolotls alive like beings who are conscious of their existence as if they can steer their lives at their will.As if they can define it, which only a conscious being can do They were lying in wait of something, a remote dominion destroyed, an age of liberty when the world had been that of axolotls The central theme of the story is existential angst about no inherent meaning of life and still existing authentically by defining your life and then taking responsibility to live accordingly.As I progressed through the story it remind me of The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, which is a seminal work in existentialist literature.The House Taken Over follows the same existential theme protagonist feels angst over losing his abode They ve taken over our section , Irene said The knitting has reeled off from her hands and the yarn ran back toward the door and disappeared under it When she saw that the balls o
This volume is my introduction to Cort zar, part of my 2012 Year of Discovering Latin American and Spanish writers I have his novels on my horizon, and I m itching to read them, but I thought starting with a short story volume would be a good introduction In the past, I have neglected short stories, in part because of an early preference for huge novels that I could escape in for days at a time There may have been some elements of an introvert s frustration over getting to know a series of characters, only to say goodbye to them after 15 pages or so and to have to ready myself for meeting a whole new set of characters all over again Silly, I know treating a short story collection as a literary cocktail party I m very glad that I ve shaken off those earlier views, because I found this collection to be captivating Cort zar destablizes our understandings of identity in every story Characters merge into other characters Boundaries, physical and psychic, dissolve in thin air When reading the first story, Axolotl, I actually had a physical sense of my perspective shifting at a key point in the story, almost as if I were watching a film and visualizing an extreme change in perspective Cort zar also is masterful at creating a surreal atmosphere of menace in many of these stories, which is all the effective because the danger doesn t unfold all at once
Now I am an axolotl After spending some quality time in the company of Julio Cortazar and his choice short prose, I believe I can easily identify with the weirdness, wonder and mystery of existence, as seen though the lens of his imagination I may not be sure which side of the glass wall I am standing right now and what exactly I am looking at, but I recognize that reality realism is not providing all the answers I need, and that sometimes we need a tiger roaming around the house for his own reasons Bestiary , other times fluffy rabbits pop out of our mouths Letter to a Young Lady in Paris , an entire life can be told in a minute and a half of a jazz tune The Pursuer and axolotls know better than us what the meaning of life is It s that we don t enjoy moving a lot, and the tank is so cramped we barely move in any direction and we re hitting one of the others with our tail or our head difficulties arise, fights, tiredness The time feels like it s less if we stay quietly.I have come across the name often enough in references to influential modern writers and best of lists of South American writers, I have even seen the Antonioni movie a couple of times without clicking on to the source material, but this is my first read of Cortazar stories Te hype is in his case entirely justified, at least as far as I am concerned He is a master stylist, a poet that playfully yet carefully constructs his phrases I wish I could be able to read in the original Spanish, o
I prefer the words to the reality that I m trying to describe ,says Cort zar Through his exquisitely beautiful sentences what he offers is than reality The question of magical realism as his style is debatable But what his stories overwhelm with is eccentricity Most of his stories can be easily classified as uncanny , because of his way of encompassing his characters in a surreal mystery, of which they think as reality.Time and Identity evidently seem to be the play things for Cort zar Almost all his characters have some kind of ambiguous assertion over their existence The aquarium frequenter from Axolotl says, in a trance, Now I am an axolotl Imagine a man claims to be his object of obsession Is it neotenous metamorphosis or unconscious awareness It is up to us, the readers From The Pursuer, I am not I , Johnny says feverishly If he is not he, who is he This recurring question of identity simmers across the lives of almost all his protagonists a guy who vomits rabbits, sisters posing as statues beside railroads for the weary travelers, a widowed maid appearing as the mother of her employer s guest, a reader who becomes the victim of the mystery novel he reads, a fiance who is haunted by ideas of otherness , and so on Even amidst these alienness and otherness, the closeness among the characters can be warmly felt and their dialogues echoing insi
Here are stories of the prismatic elastic imaginative labyrinthine type Okay, Cortazar isn t for everyone his sentences stubbornly don t do what you expect them to do, and those readers resistant to the particular magic of language, that it can simultaneously be music and meaning, archaic and capable of instigating a profoundly new perspective, bewildering and grounding, need not proceed Those of you who have already closed avenues of readerly possibility off, need not proceed Those of you who read primarily to have the book perform how you wish it to perform, rather than to perform the book according to the choreography of the author, need not proceed But for the rest of you good readers, Cortazar is utterly refreshing, absent of cliche, deeply committed to positing his metaphysical riddles in lattice like compact tales, at home at play in the nearly infi
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