This book by Julio Cortázar is described as a demonstration of the prominence of Cortázar’s creative writing. I must admit that, even if I agree that these stories reflect the author perfectly, I didn’t enjoy them much.
Those of you who have known me for a while or who have followed this blog for some time knows that if I admire someone, it’s Cortázar. I love his short stories, his novels and his opinions. Whenever I listen to or read an interview with him, I cannot help but smile at his answers and think, that is so Cortázar!
This book opens with his famous short story The Southern Thruway, which narrates a traffic jam outside Paris that lasts for months. Anyone who’s been stuck in traffic in Mexico City feels that story close and personal.
The Health of the Sick is the second story and tells about a family that refuses to confess to a mother that his son has died. They do everything in their power to keep up with the lie.
Reunion is also quite entertaining, but as soon as I got to Miss Cora I felt the urge to toss the book out of the window. I thought it was slow, absurd and tedious. Whenever I come across a book where I don’t like what I’m reading, I tend to run” through the pages, trying to read as fast as I can so it ends sooner. That had never happened with a Cortázar book, but Miss Cora did the trick. The stories become more complicated towards the end of the book, but they are more entertaining than the ones in the middle.
Note: The “other stories” refers to the ones that are not a part of the original Spanish version. They include some of the stories that were originally written for Bestiario (Bestiary), and they are awesome.