English title: 62: A model kit
Written in 1968, this book was born from Rayuela’s (Hopscotch, 1963) chapter 62, in which an idea for a book, and particularly for its characters and their behaviors, was described. Despite this fact, this is a standalone novel.
Its subtitle refers to the particular way the story is written: In little pieces, like scraps, that were put together in the wrong order. This book doesn’t contain chapters, so the different “scenes” are limited by blank spaces. And then, in each “scene”, usually containing interaction between two or more characters, the narrative point of view may change from a third person to a first person, and then the first person narrator might be changed from one character to the other during the duration of the “scene”. I know this sound confusing, but at the moment, while reading it, it’s easy to keep up with the jumps, because they came in a way that I can’t think another way to described as “smooth and naturally”-
The characters of this story are a heterogeneous group of friends, that most of the time are scattered in different cities, so the action takes place simultaneously at Paris, London and Vienna. Their relationship and entanglements are what motivates most of the events in the novel. They’re very bond together, but at the same time they’re not (if that makes any sense). It’s our job as readers to try to understand and untangle the actions, the things said, the secrets kept, the thoughts, the emotions, separate reality from dreams and imagination, to understand what is really going on at the end.
Un tal Lucas – English title: A certain Lucas
Queremos tanto a Glenda – English title: We love Glenda so much
Deshoras – English title: Unreasonable hours
Individually each one of this is a book, but I read them as the third and last volume of Cortázar’s complete stories. Considering the vast work of Cortázar, every time I read one of his books I feel like I should probably know a little about the political, sociological, geographical context in which it was written. Of course, I never do that. Of course, I always feel like I’m losing some important information.
I don’t know how to talk about a book of stories. Each story is different, some are better, some not, but am I supposed to say something about each single one? I don’t think that’s how it’s done.
In a more general way, I would say that Un tal Lucas is probably my least favorite of all of his books. Not because it’s “bad”, is just that I didn’t make a connection with it. It has some highlights, but it felt “meh”. Maybe I should read it again some other time in the future. Queremos tanto… y Deshoras have very good and memorable moments. I guess that what I enjoyed the most was that Deshoras starts with a reference about the tale that gives name to Queremos tanto… It’s a detail that would probably lose its effect if the book is not read right after the other.
I love Cortázar, and I feel sad that I finished all of his short-stories’ books. I still need to catch up on his novels and start with the latest published books that compile his correspondence (how awesome is that?), but accomplishing this milestone has a bittersweet taste.