Books

Review: Around the Day in Eighty Worlds

So I’ve been sick. And being sick means reading slowly. This was a short book, but because I wasn’t feeling well, at all, it took me quite a while to finish it. However, I’ve finished reading it and today I want to share my thoughts with you.

Around the Day in Eighty Worlds, by Julio Cortázar

“All established order forms a line of resistance against the threat of rupture and places its meager forces at the service of continuity. That everything should continue as usual is the bourgeois standard of a reality that is indeed bourgeois precisely because it is a standard.”

Around the Day in Eighty Worlds is a collection of texts where there isn’t a single story or plot, nor there is a chronology of any sort. There is just text.

“A writer, contrary to the popular opinion, does not write books. A writer writes texts.”

Ulises Carrión

This is a collage or an inventory, a personal encyclopedia, others say. If you ask me, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds is Cortazar himself.

In this compilation of texts that seems to lack any particular order, Julio shares his opinions, experiences, spontaneous thoughts and photographs. He shares forgotten poems that talk about his love for Borges, fantastic tales filled with humor, and other brief life anecdotes.

It had been a while since the last time I read Cortazar, which is why it took me a while to reenter his worlds, but it was on page 48 that we finally reconnected and I began to truly enjoy the book. Julio talked about the ‘Great Argentinian problem’, not knowing how to address someone on a letter, for the complexity of interpersonal relationships requires precision on paper.

Cortazar defends humor in literature and heavily criticizes those who try to be too serious when they write. 

“Nothing is more comical than seriousness understood as a virtue that has to precede all important literature.”

That is why I think this book is a reflection of Julio himself, (the Julio who writes, not the Julio that he writes about). Because Julio was like that, serious and humorous, an intellectual who refused to be called intellectual, a writer who respected language enough to play with it, mix it up, and change it as he pleased. He jumped from one topic to another without any trouble, and he discussed jazz and politics as easily as he talked about his cat, Teodoro W. Adorno.

Recommended for other cronopios who enjoy reading Julio and his adventures with the pen.

  My edition:  Paperback, published in 2016, by Siglo XXI Editores.
My edition: Paperback, published in 2016, by Siglo XXI Editores.
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