As many of you know, Julio Cortázar is by far my favorite author. Last year I made a trip to Paris in which I went to some of the places that were important to him (The Cortazar Route). I have talked about some of his books here on the blog, but now that I think about it, I haven’t really written anything about the one book that introduced me to the world of Cortázar: Hopscotch.
For now, let us talk about the most recent one…
Bestiario, by Julio Cortázar
Published in 1951, this is the first book where he used his own name. Before that, he published under the pseudonym “Julio Denis”. This is also, his first short story collection.
Bestiario consists of eight short stories: Casa tomada (House taken over), Carta a una señorita en París (Letter to a Young Lady in Paris), Lejana (The Distances), Omnibus, Cefalea (Cephalalgia), Circe, Las puertas del cielo (The Doors of Heaven) and Bestiario (Bestiary).
I have to tell you, I loved all of them… well, all except for one. All stories have themes that seem normal, but they all have a certain magical element in them that separates them from reality.
Some stories made me laugh, others made me nervous, others made me uncomfortable and others I simply enjoyed. Cortázar once said that he wrote those stories feeling neurotic symptoms that bothered him. I noticed.
This book is for anyone who enjoys a short, but fun and original read; for all who love Latin American literature, and for all who, like me, love Julio Cortázar. One thing, though: you won’t find a complete translation.