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62: A Model Kit

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As one of the main characters, the intellectual Juan, puts it: to one person the City might appear as Paris, to another it might be where one goes upon getting out of bed in Barcelona; to another it might appear as a beer hall in Oslo. This cityscape, as Carlos Fuentes describes it, "seems drawn up by the Marx Brothers with an assist from Bela Lugosi!" It is the meeting place for a wild assortment of bohemians in a novel described by The New York Times as "Deeply touching, enjoyable, beautifully written and fascinatingly mysterious." Library Journal has said 62: A Model Kit is "a highly satisfying work by one of the most extraordinary writers of our time."

288 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1968

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About the author

Julio Cortázar

657 books5,862 followers
Julio Cortázar, born Julio Florencio Cortázar Descotte, was an Argentine author of novels and short stories. He influenced an entire generation of Latin American writers from Mexico to Argentina, and most of his best-known work was written in France, where he established himself in 1951.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 180 reviews
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,425 reviews3,393 followers
October 29, 2022
“If I were to write this book, standard behavior (including the most unusual, its deluxe category) would be inexplicable by means of current instrumental psychology. The actors would appear to be unhealthy or complete idiots. Not that they would show themselves incapable of current challenges and responses: love, jealousy, pity, and so on down the line, but in them something which Homo sapiens keeps subliminal would laboriously open up a road as if a third eye were blinking out with effort from under the frontal bone. Everything would be a kind of disquiet, a continuous uprooting, a territory where psychological causality would yield disconcertedly, and those puppets would destroy each other or love each other or recognize each other without suspecting too much that life is trying to change its key in and through and by them, that a barely conceivable attempt is born in man as one other day there were being born the reason-key, the feeling-key, the pragmatism-key.” Julio CortázarHopscotch: Chapter 62.
Headlines of the newspapers reflected in the mirror become an inscrutable Russian alphabet… A colourful postcard turned upside down transforms into a transcendental picture… The characters vainly endeavour to interpret dreams, daydreams, revelations and abstractions surrounding and pursuing them everywhere… Trying to decipher the world they shuffle cards, words, images and visions but the world disintegrates into the set of symbols of absurdity… Lovers find and lose each other until the combinations of love turn into a cosmic composition…
I knew what I refuse to accept now. I was afraid and appealed to anything so as not to believe. I loved you too much to accept that hallucination where you weren’t even present, where you were only a mirror or a book or a shadow in a castle. I lost myself in analogies and bottles of white wine. I got to the brink and preferred not to know.

Love is always near but it keeps slipping away.
Profile Image for Oriana.
Author 2 books3,302 followers
December 26, 2014
I just read this again for IDK like the 10th time. It is my favorite book of all time ever and I'd like to tell you about it.

I think what I'm actually going to do is like a CliffNotes sort of thing, where I tell you first a few reasons why this book is nearly impossible to read the first time, then give you the cast of characters and a few things they do, so that if you do try to read it, you'll have some hope of figuring out what's going on before you're 3/4 of the way through.

I suppose that means this'll be kind of spoilery? I mean it's really not that kind of book, but if you want to go into it blind, you should probably just not read this review at all.

Okay here we go. The first thing that's important to know is that Cortázar does this thing with time where it does not go the way it's supposed to, like in a way everything in the book happens all at once, in a clearly impossible way. So it opens on Juan alone on Christmas Eve at a subpar restaurant having just bought a book and in the process of getting diligently drunk, and someone else in the restaurant says something that reminds him of a series of things that he reminisces about -- except that it'll be clear later that those things haven't really happened yet, and not in the order he remembers them anyway. It's like this wild Möbius strip where everything is an eternal present and is also all in the past. So there's that at first.

Second, this is really just a book about a bunch of super-smart, super-silly, super-cosmopolitan friends; they all travel all the time for work and for play, and most of the book takes place in their various hotel rooms or bars or cafés in Paris or Oslo or Barcelona. But then also laid over all of this as a semi-comprehensible patina is the City, like the ur-city maybe, where everyone sometimes slips into on their respective journeys, and everyone seems to have a moment or a mission there that they are constantly reliving or trying to complete, and sometimes they run into each other and other times they are endlessly fruitlessly searching and never finding what or whom they're meant to.

Third, several of the characters are never really explained, like for ex. Osvaldo you find out many pages in is actually a pet snail, and I think Feuille Morte is a bird although I'm not certain. Then there's a character called "my paredros," which, like the City, is not exactly one person but a composite person, or maybe it's each of them at different times. So they'll say things like "my paredros said," but when Juan says it he might mean Polanco, and when Nicole says it she might mean Calac, or maybe they all have an imaginary friend in common that everyone believes in together.

Finally fourth, he does this thing which by the third read I adored but at first I just found so jarring, which is that he switches from third person to first person all the time, often in the middle of a sentence. And especially at the start when you don't know who these people are or what they're like, it's just about impossible to know who's narrating when.

Okay those are the disclaimers. Are you still with me? Because here are the characters.

He's the Cortázar stand-in, surely. He's ruggedly handsome (actually I don't know if he's ever physically described, but in my head he's devastatingly gorgeous because Juan is exactly the boy I always and forever will unreachably fall in love with). He's from Buenos Aires and works as a U.N. interpreter and so is always in new cities being exhausted by an endless barrage of words. For most of the course of this book he's in Vienna with Tell, his "crazy Danish girl." He's in desperate, aching, unrequited love with Hélène.

She is this fabulous redheaded Danish marvel, very independent and fun and demanding. She knows Juan isn't in love with her and she's perfectly happy to be his vixen for a little while when the whim takes her. Together they have a lot of sex and drink a lot of wine and have an adventure with a vampire (maybe). Tell is fiercely protective of her friends, especially Nicole. At one point she sends a doll to Hélène that has something mysterious and dirty in it, which has severe ramifications.

She's French. Her boyfriend Marrast calls her "the Malcontent." She's quiet and mournful and an artist; through most of the book she's illustrating a children's book about gnomes. She's in desperate, aching, unrequited love with Juan. Things with Marrast are bad, and eventually she will do something about it, which I won't tell you because that does feel spoilery. When she's in the City there are red houses and high sidewalks and everything is despair.

Also French, and darkly hilarious, and an overly smart sculptor. He does three things mostly in the book: 1. Make a gigantic commissioned sculpture for the town of Arcuile that's a deconstruction of what a sculpture should be in that it has its pedestal on top and the sculpture itself on the bottom, 2. Talks and talks and talks and drinks and talks and mourns the dissolution of his relationship with Nicole without being able to do anything about it, and 3. Crafts this elaborate sort-of prank involving a random painting in an art gallery, a host of Anonymous Neurotics, and an unidentified plant sprig.

Calac & Polanco
Argentinian BFFs. These two could easily be dismissed as comic relief, which is often the role they fill -- Polanco, for ex, works at a nursery school with a lake and has inherited a canoe and unattached motor; the first time we meet him he's in a hotel room with an electric razor submerged in porridge because he thinks if he can keep it running, that will bode well for his soon-to-be-motorized canoe not tipping him out into the lake. He and Calac often speak in their own made-up language that is unparsable but still you get the idea. They're not just comic relief, but their levity always comes in at just the right moments when things have got too heavy.

She's a fairly daffy young English girl who runs away from home and is very angstily sad. I can't go into what happens between her and Hélene, sorry. Eventually she winds up with Austin.

He begins as an Anonymous Neurotic, then becomes Marrast's French pupil, and winds up almost inadvertently as a major agent of the plot. Prior to that there's a hilarious episode where he describes sleeping with French girls who have huge elaborate hairdos and will only fuck in positions that will not get their heads anywhere near a pillow.

The most mysterious figure in the group; she's an anesthesiologist and has a catastrophic hospital encounter with a young boy who reminds her of Juan. She might be evil actually, I can't say for sure. Her recurrence in the City has her always walking and walking, holding a package tied with a yellow cord that gets heavier and heavier, but she can't put it down until she gets where she's going, which of course she never does.

I don't know, I thought laying that all out would prove that this is one of the most difficult but also the most beautiful and strange book that exists, but I'm not sure that's what happened.

All I have left to say is this: This book is magic, magic, magic; on every page, in every line, shot through every twistedly long and nearly un-parse-able sentence. One day I will meet someone who loves it as much as I do, and we will read it back and forth, bit by bit, over and over every day for the rest our lives.
Profile Image for Guille.
757 reviews1,553 followers
December 16, 2018
Cortázar es para mí un misterio maravilloso. Aunque me sitúo en el lado de acá desde donde observo conmovido su urgente necesidad de trascendencia, me acomodo tan deliciosamente a su ritmo, me fascinan tanto su tono, las palabras utilizadas como nunca nadie, esos finales de frases que no se rematan tan expresivamente, me emociona tanto su angustia, me enternece tanto su esfuerzo por encontrar en la vida esa rendija por la que poder penetrar en el otro lado, en ese paraíso en la tierra donde se desencadenará el coágulo y ya para siempre, donde se sabe sin saber, se llega sin haber partido, se elige sin renunciar, se es sin definir, que de una forma extraña y poderosa siento su llamado, el signo oscuro de su misma literatura, sin tener, ni querer, racionalizarla.
“Pensar era inútil, como desesperarse por recordar un sueño del que sólo se alcanzan las últimas hilachas al abrir los ojos; pensar era quizá destruir la tela todavía suspendida en algo como el reverso de la sensación, su latencia acaso repetible. Cerrar los ojos, abandonarse, flotar en una disponibilidad total, en una espera propicia. Inútil, siempre había sido inútil; de esas regiones cimerias se volvía más pobre, más lejos de sí mismo.”

Desde las primeras frases, Cortázar me convierte en cómplice leal en su lucha por encontrar ese nuevo orden donde el sentido, indecible e inabarcable, solo es accesible de forma oblicua, un sentido donde son imprecisos los límites y los significados no saben de diccionarios, en el que abundan las conexiones improbables y los azares son trascendentes. Y yo, que de cualquier modo soy incapaz de acompañarlo en su Creo porque es absurdo, acabo leyéndole como si a todo le encontrara un sentido más allá de lo comprensible, como si las palabras dichas y repetidas fueran algo más que moscas muertas, como si realmente pudiera hacerme una idea cabal de la ciudad de altas aceras.
“Lo que nos salva a todos es una vida tácita que poco tiene que ver con lo cotidiano o lo astronómico, una influencia espesa que lucha contra la fácil dispersión en cualquier conformismo o cualquier rebeldía más o menos gregarios, una catarata de tortugas que no termina nunca de hacer pie porque desciende con un movimiento retardado que apenas guarda relación con nuestras identidades de foto tres cuartos sobre fondo blanco e impresión dígito-pulgar derecho, la vida como algo ajeno pero que lo mismo hay que cuidar, el niño que le dejan a uno mientras la madre va a hacer una diligencia, la maceta con la begonia que regaremos dos veces por semana y por favor no me le eche más de un jarrito de agua, porque la pobre se me desmejora.”

Como las transgresiones espacio-temporales, como el propio lenguaje, la ciudad es un punto central de la novela. Una ciudad que es interior y exterior, sueño y alucinación y, sin embargo, más real que la realidad misma. Un lugar donde los sentimientos se forman y se transforman, donde residen los temores, se mueven las esperanzas, surgen los anhelos y se ejecutan las pesadillas, donde nunca se llega al sitio al que nos dirigimos porque andar es un verbo pasivo, donde siempre falta o sobra algo, donde los ascensores se mueven en cualquier dirección, donde se teje la suerte. Una ciudad de hoteles imposibles, surcada por el canal del norte en cuya orilla pasea una joven pareja expulsada de su futuro londinense por ese triángulo isósceles que culmina el llanto de Celia en un mundo de triángulos trágicos; con sus anchas galerías por las que se adentra Polanco pensando en su gorda acompañado de Calac, palíndromo enamorado; donde se puede coger un tranvía en busca de destino y ver a Héllène, tan Frau Marta tan condesa sangrienta tan sin vida, sentada al fondo con su paquetito sobre la falda. Una ciudad en la que Marrast se esconde tras un cuadro con tallo hermodactylus tuberosis para no notar la ausencia de Nicole que está en el Cluny hablando con su paredro sin acordarse de Juan ni de las pastillas, sin ver la sombra a su espalda; una ciudad en la que Juan, que muere y no muere, que le matan y no le matan, trastoca la magdalena de Proust en un bistec sangrante mientras Tell ríe como solamente ella.
“…muchas veces cuando ellos vuelven de la ciudad con la boca pastosa y los vagos terrores de la noche, acaban por sospechar que detrás de esos torpes, sucios itinerarios se ha estado escondiendo otra cosa, un cumplimiento, y que tal vez sea en la ciudad donde realmente va a ocurrir lo que aquí les parece abominable o imposible o never more.”

Un relato, este del 62, cuyo sentido ya queda reflejado en el propio lenguaje, palabras inventadas y/o contorsionadas incluidas, que empieza, cual cuadro de Escher en el que el personaje está dentro y fuera del relato, en un diálogo interior que es epílogo y prólogo de la historia, recuerdo y vaticinio al tiempo. Un relato donde prevalece la fobia a la costumbre y la hora de Greenwich, donde se aborrecen las emociones de 4 a 7, donde se dice sin contar porque “Contar, tú lo sabes, sería poner en orden como quien diseca pájaros”. Un relato tan exhaustivo a veces en los detalles y otras tan parco, etc, reivindicador de otra manera de entender los sentimientos sin que exista otra manera de entender los sentimientos, en el que es inútil la seriedad y la existencia oblonga de las cajas de bombones, donde se salta de un tranvía a un ascensor a una cama sin que la idea del suicidio se desarme del todo, donde remunan los petiforros y se amafan los croncos por las trefulgas y la vida se escapa por los agujeros sin que la escultura ni la pintura ni las noches en el Cluny ni la propia ciudad, tú sabes. Se huye de la conformidad, se busca el juego, la ceremonia, se evita el pase usted primero, se vierten las angustias, se respiran los anhelos, se observa el lado de acá desde el lado de allá y viceversas, se rechazan las certezas, se abren puertas, se trastocan los espacio y los tiempos, no hay lugar para la causalidad ni la casualidad y sí para la libertad y las miradas como gatas flacas.

En definitiva, que todos aquellos de ustedes que nunca leerán la novela me dan bastante lástima.
Profile Image for Geoff.
444 reviews1,191 followers
June 6, 2017
Staggeringly good. Ultimately it might be 62 and not Hopscotch or Blow-Up that endears Cortazar to you forever - but one way or another, you will be endeared. Cannot recommend this highly enough - strange elliptical and haunted sad beauty, it reminded me of a night long ago I watched the reflection of a foreign city (Pisa?) iterated in reflection on the surface of its river - oily, deep in a dream, stars strewn if you looked closely enough and wanted them to be there - but all in inverted undulating correspondence. Wonderful.
Profile Image for Katia N.
585 reviews663 followers
September 28, 2020
Update 28.09.20 - I've added more about the actual "62" below.

I freely confess I am biased towards Cortazar for many reasons. But he deserves to be loved. Here is what Neruda has to say:

“Anyone who doesn’t read Cortázar is doomed. Not to read him is a serious invisible disease which in time can have terrible consequences. Something similar to a man who has never tasted peaches. He would quietly become sadder…and probably, little by little, he would lose his hair. I don’t want these things to happen to me, so I greedily devour all the fabrications, myths, contradictions, and mortal games of the great Julio Cortázar.”

What I love the most in his work is sense of total freedom in both what he does and how he does it. And this sense of free fall is so contagious. He, by himself used to quote Horacio Quiroga:

"Write as though your tale is interesting only for the small number of your characters, the one of them is yourself."

And he did it. At least he did it in all the books I've read by him. This one is wonderful.


Now about this story. The conception of it is outlined in the chapter 62 of Hopscotch where the character Morelli is contemplating a book he would write going beyond usual psychology and the characters. The book which would show how we are affected by something beyond individual inclinations. I do not have the English version of that chapter at hand now. But it contains the key to this book, if one needs the one. So the title comes from there. But I insist one does not need to read Hopscotch to read this one. Apart from this link, they are not related. And this one might be even better without a key.

Here is what Cortazar later was saying about "62":

“I’d like to write in such a way that my writing would be full of life in the deepest sense, full of action and meaning, but a life, action, and meaning that would no longer rely exclusively on the interaction of individuals, but rather on a sort of superaction involving the ‘figures’ formed by a constellation of characters. I realize it isn’t easy at all to explain this.

“I feel daily I’m less of an egoist and more aware of the constant interactions taking place between other things or beings and myself. I have an impression that all that moves on a plane responding to other laws, other structures that lie outside the world of individuality. I would like the book to show how these figures constitute a sort of break with, or denial of, individual reality, sometimes completely unknown to the characters themselves. One of the many problems with this scheme, a problem already hinted at in Hopscotch, is to know up to what point a character can serve a purpose that is fulfilling itself outside of him, without being the least aware of it, without his realizing that he is one of the links in that superaction or superstructure?”

But when i was reading the novel, I did not know about these quotes. And, I am pretty sure I did not need to. So what do I think about the book?

I will borrow Borges this time around: “It is impossible to convey the plot of his (Cortazar’s) novellas: in each of them all the words are placed exactly where they should be. Trying to summarise or retell this you will get convinced that you’ve missed the most important thing again."

So i won’t even try to do it. Though there is a game in there that the author builds for the reader to play and follow.

This is the text without the beginning or the end. If there is shape to describe it, it would be a circle. The time does not flow, it exist there.

This is about lovers and the impossibility of their love; about dreamers and impossibility of their dreams. About the power of friendship and art, how it shapes what we believe in. This is about cities and the one city they all go to search for each other but never to find. And all of it is unashamedly romantic but not sentimental.

This is about the lack of understanding, but whatever minimal is there to be treasured. This is also about this feeling that the moment you got hold of something it slips away. 

Kant says there is stuff we inherently cannot know, but we would always thrive to find it out even realising that we cannot. Many novelists and philosophers talk about the existence of this border. There is no border it seems for the characters here as there is no border between the first and the third person for Cortazar in telling this story.

This story can be read in many different ways. But i think if you really want to get inside of it, you need to read it once and then start again from the beginning. It is like moving away from a canvas after examining small details and then seeing the whole.

But no efforts are required to admire a sheer poetry of this and to be totally taken over:

“Entro de noche a mi ciudad, yo bajo a mi ciudad
donde me esperan o me duelen, donde tengo que huir de alguna abominable cita,
de lo que ya no tiene nombre, una cita con dedos,
con pedazos de carne en un armario, con una ducha que no encuentro,
en mi ciudad hay duchas,
hay un canal que corta por el medio mi ciudad y navíos enormes sin mástiles pasan en un silencio intolerable hacia un destino que conozco pero que olvido al regresar,
hacia un destino que niega mi ciudad donde nadie se embarca, donde se está para quedarse
aunque los barcos pasen y desde el liso puente alguno esté mirando mi ciudad."

I enter my city at night, I go down to my city
where they wait or hurt me, where I have to flee
of some abominable appointment, of what no longer has a name,
a date with fingers, with pieces of flash in a closet,
with a shower that I can't find, in my city there are showers,
there is a canal that cuts my city in the middle
and huge ship without masts pass in intolerable silence
towards a destination that I know but that I forget when I return,
towards a destiny that denies my city
where no one embarks, where one is to stay
Although the ships pass and from the smooth bridge someone is looking at my city.

Little Venice - Warwick avenue bridge..

and you will have to walk to the end of the train because somewhere you have to find yourself,
without knowing who, the appointment was with someone who is unknown and has lost the suitcases
and you, from time to time, are also at the station but your train
it's another train, your dog is another dog, we won't meet, my love,
I will lose you again on the tram or on the train, in my underwear I will run
Through crowded people and sleeping in compartments where a violet light
blind the dusty cloths, the curtains that hide my city.

Regent canal

Profile Image for Fernando.
680 reviews1,094 followers
September 30, 2020
“En un tiempo, Morelli había pensado un libro que se quedó en notas sueltas. La que mejor lo resumía es ésta: “Psicología, palabra con aire de vieja… si escribiera ese libro, las conductas standard (incluso las más inéditas, su categoría de lujo) serían inexplicables con el instrumental psicológico al uso...
Que a cada sucesiva derrota hay un acercamiento a la mutación final, y que el hombre no es sino que busca ser, proyecta ser, manoteando entre palabras y conducta y alegría salpicada de sangre y otras retóricas como ésta.” Rayuela, capítulo 62.

"Es lo peor de Cortázar", me dijo una amiga. "No me gusta el trato que le da a los personajes", me dijo un amigo y yo, con la necesidad de no me quedarme con la duda decidí leer "62/Modelo para armar" y para serles sincero, si bien es cierto que no es uno de los libros más logrados de Julio Cortázar, tiene todos los ingredientes para resultar atractivo para el lector.
Creo también que es un libro distinto, escrito de una manera muy particular que me remitió a otros libros no convencionales. Casualmente hace poco leí el Finnegans Wake y de alguna manera tiene algo en común: la falta de un argumento tradicional o clásico que uno puede seguir de principio a final.
Es más, uno puede abrir 62 en cualquier página y podrá leer esa porción de texto en forma independiente y también como parte de la historia, esa historia que se desarrolla en Londres, París, Viena y con reminiscencias de Buenos Aires. Tal vez ese sea uno de los dos ingredientes más particulares que se perciben durante la lectura.
Otro dato a tener en cuenta es recordando a Rayuela, los personajes parecieran ser nuevos socios del Club de la Serpiente, pero en este caso aún más libres y autónomos. Y son varios, dado que podemos saber acerca de las andanzas de Juan, Tell, Calac, Polanco, Hélène, Marrast, Nicole, Austen Celia y Feuille Morte.
Son muchos y por decantación nos encontraremos con muchas situaciones y anécdotas y entonces, don Julio nos da la posibilidad de no atarnos, a la convencionalidad de la literatura, y es ese mismo rasgo el que lo emparenta con Joyce, por ejemplo.
Es la desestructuralización de lo establecido porque sí o porque de determinada manera debe escribirse y listo. Estos, no son escritores que se ciñan a un clasicismo narrativo y en el caso de este libro uno puede experimentar algo parecido a lo que hace también en "Un tal Lucas", que es trabajar con la descentralización argumental para liberar al texto de formalismos clásicos. "Diversas transgresiones a la convención literaria", como él mismo anuncia en el corto prólogo.
Y si con esto fuera poco y experimentando como sucede a nivel lenguaje en el Finnegans Wake, Cortázar introduce una técnica narrativa que ya había utilizado en cuentos como "La señorita Cora": la del cambio constante del narrador, muchas veces en la misma línea.
Uno lee un párrafo con estilo indirecto libre, en tercera persona que en la misma línea puede cambiar a primera persona. Este constante cambio de persona en el narrador no resulta molesto sino que le da otra dinámica a la lectura.
No se puede leer este tipo de libros en forma estructurada y rígida de los libros, digámosle "normales" sino con la capacidad de amplitud necesaria para adecuarse a la originalidad que el texto plantea y considero que eso es lo que debemos aplicar en "62/Modelo para armar".
No voy a escribir de lo que sucede con los personajes porque creo que es algo que el lector debe descubrir desandando líneas, párrafos y páginas.
Sólo me resta decir que yo siempre aplaudo este tipo de libros y es una de las razones por las que admiro tanto a Julio Cortázar y su inventiva genial y única que se suma a otros escritores originales que no se casaron con una sola manera de escribir y eso es lo que los diferencia de tantos otros.
Porque como dijo mi querido Herman Melville: "Es preferible fallar en la originalidad que tener éxito en la imitación."
Profile Image for Jeff Jackson.
Author 4 books468 followers
April 12, 2018
For Dennis Cooper's blog, I recently transcribed a super rare interview Cortazar did in the late 60s while writing "62: A Model Kit." He talks about his process, the book's structure, and other interesting bits:


This book is jaw dropping amazing. The episodic "Hopscotch" may have higher highs, but this is Julio Cortazar's greatest novel from start to finish. It's unlike anything else I've read. The closest analog might not be in literature but Jacques Rivette's wild films of the 1970s. The continual dislocations of time and space (not to mention the vampire subplot) lend the novel's realist situations a vertiginous sense of the fantastic. The point of view keeps shifting from character to character, slowly emphasizing a collective web of relationships over any one personality. Cortazar has profound insights into friendships and amorous relationships, but he offers them at steep and oblique angles. The book teaches you how to read its peculiar shifts and emotional hues and half-tones, though it can be tough going in the beginning while you're getting the hang of it. But the novel's style quickly becomes intoxicating and you can see how the various intertwined and overlapping stories are hurtling toward their climaxes. Like all of Cortazar, you come out of the experience feeling enriched and seeing the world as if through a more powerful prescription. YOU SHOULD READ THIS.
Profile Image for Eddie Watkins.
Author 6 books5,451 followers
October 16, 2014
The impetus, or even the blue-print, of this novel is Chapter 62 of Cortazar’s own novel Hopscotch. In that chapter a “chemical theory of thought” is referenced; a theory that posits a wholly materialistic basis for psychological processes and human motivations and desires, reducing human behavior to by-products of neural activity. In this chapter the narrator sketches the idea of a novel that would replace individual human behavior by social behavior and neural activity by character activity. Reading Chapter 62 gives the impression that 62: A Model Kit would be coldly analytical, abstract, un-feeling; which in a way is true, but somehow it also manages to be deeply moving.

It opens with a character experiencing a plexus of coincidental events while sitting in a Parisian café on Christmas Eve, and (at least in my reading of the novel) his stabs at trying to comprehend the elusive but obvious significance of these events bring the rest of the novel into being. “Elusive but obvious significance” applies as well to the rest of the book, in that the reader turns page after page, compelled by something very difficult to pinpoint – characters rarely become more than their names and professions, stories told exist in clouds of abstract language so the reader must latch on to the few tangible words/images offered to get his/her bearings, and to top it all it is very difficult to discern who is talking where and when – but that somehow manages to be deeply moving.

How is this possible?

My theory is that while deploying the usual phalanx of “narrative voices” – 1st person, 3rd person, snail – 62: A Model Kit manages to be told in the voice of consciousness itself, what I would call a voice from the “collective conscious”. From paragraph to paragraph, even sentence to sentence, the voice constantly shifts from third to first to snail, from inner to outer, from omniscient to limited, from snail to carefree imbecile. This voice from the collective conscious, even with all its abstractions and elusiveness, manages to bind the characters and the narratives they inhabit together in a social fluidity that transcends them all on a fundamental level, on the deeper levels of interpersonal consciousness itself. This sets up a very lively web of social interconnectedness that remains lively and life-affirming even in the face of infidelity, love lost, and death, because the individual him/herself is subsumed in something larger and longer lasting, thus freeing the individuals from the narrow confines of the personal ego. This freeing of the characters from their own personal egos creates a comparable feeling in the receptive reader, and it’s the combination of transpersonal interconnectedness and freedom from self that manages to be deeply moving; that and the implication that we are who we are through our interactions with others.

It’s like a system of metaphysics that replaces abstract theorizing with narrative voices. But like a system of metaphysics it can be very offputting at first, until one finds one's footing in the verbal cloud-cuckooness.

This may sound like a lofty intention on Cortazar’s part, but he was quite a guy, extremely intellectual yet also playfully profound, and this is one of those books I hope to be compelled to reread and reread by its “elusive but obvious significance” that never quite gets pinpointed; an elusive and obvious significance that could all point to nothing but I know it doesn’t because I can feel it in my small part of the collective conscious.
Profile Image for Nate D.
1,583 reviews999 followers
October 28, 2011
Haunting and disconcerting, formally confused and elegant, a novel as a system of correspondences, scattered both spatially and temporally, a vast map or set of maps which perfectly overlay in uncertain fashion, whose ink under weight of tears and dark waves gradually bleeds through into a single compound form, bleeds and coagulates anew into a highly ordered system of ambiguities, a dark constellation that guides the unwary down unfamiliar streets and through empty arcades to eerily circular revelations, profound and fleeting, sensed pre-verbally as ominous contours but gone just before they are elucidated.

And I had lived through too many attacks of those explosions of a power that came out of myself against myself not to know whether some were mere flashes of lightning that gave way to nothingness without leaving more than a frustration (monotonous deja vu's, meaningful associations, but swallowing their own tails), or other time, like the one that had just happened to me, were something astir in territory deep inside, wounding me all over like an iron claw, which, at the same time, was a door slammed in my face. (pg.22)

Cortazar's elliptic masterpiece is a strange concurrence of gothic disquiet, poetic sleepwalking though unreal cities, interupting buffoonery and snail races, tangled sentences, tangled thoughts, tangled interpersonal relationships, things that must be said but which can't extricate themselves from the tip of the tongue. It's hard work: the overture is over 30 pages of revolving recollection built of highly significant but fragmented details which will be near-entirely lost on the new reader in favor of a few "mediocre phonetic associations". I had to read it twice, too tired to extract the deep-structures at first, then feeling them out but still unsure what all this seeming nonsense was indicating. The solution was not to be found in the following adagio, where, at last, we are given a chance to learn all the characters who existed as flickers in the overture, nor, except partially, in the crescendo that followed. Here, at last, the story began to develop teeth of its own, I at last, 100 pages in, realized that I was completely gripped and glad I had stuck with it through all that I had incorrectly suspected might not be worth the trouble. Then the brilliant, rending scherzo* enacted simultaneously in two and half cities, and finally a sustained burn of a finale that can only lead back to the overture, to the overture which now almost almost assumes some kind of order. And so on.

What I'm left with: intimations of the spectral City the underlies all cities, a deep and sustained sorrow, a fuguer of characters who I had feared were another version of Hopscotch's muddled expat bohemian Club, but who I actually find so much more interesting and affecting, and that dark and leering constellation which ties together the devastating orchestrations of an unkempt but terribly formal universe.

It's absolutely not for everyone. I've struggled somewhat with Cortazar, to the point that I actually wrote a long entry here explaining how we just weren't made for eachother at page 100. Only to found myself captivated by every page that followed. Had the book changed or had I? Had we changed eachother, as people do, insidiously? All told, I'll stick with him, will keep sticking with him, as long as he has anything like this to show me.

Paredros: from a greek root suggesting a group of peers in a legal sense, and also a sort of attendant spirit, both of which definitions are maintained in the French "paredre". This ambiguous actual/mythological chorus seems to suit Cortazar's needs in maintaining a certain vagueness within the circle of protagonist here. Found in this article which is very helpful, but also prone to spoilers, so don't read it until afterwards.

*my understanding of scherzo proves a little off here. Apparently, it's fast (which I knew) but often humorous (which I did not know, and in no way applies to this terrifying stretch of Cortazar's book). My reference point here, was the "Suicide Scherzo" arranged out of Beethoven's 9th in A Clockwork Orange so think more on those lines.
Profile Image for S̶e̶a̶n̶.
839 reviews328 followers
April 22, 2020
Without rereading it at least one more time, I feel ill-equipped to offer much commentary on this staggering novel. Even just now beginning to reread a few early pages I gained more insight into later parts of the book that I did not even realize I lacked. From both a thematic standpoint and in terms of a general reaction to the book's flow, the closest analogue for this from my own reading experience would be Joseph McElroy's Lookout Cartridge (published six years after 62: A Model Kit), although that novel carries more of an aura of growing menace and suspense, whereas Cortázar's book establishes a baseline of melancholic intrigue that more or less remains at a stable level throughout the work. Cortázar also offers up a good amount of humor along the way, which I don't recall much of, if any, in McElroy's book. But both books center on a group of people in seemingly perpetual transit and the information transfers occurring between them—information which is sometimes incomplete, misinterpreted, and/or sought after and absorbed by those other than its intended recipient(s). The two books also share common ground on a structural level, with frequent shifts in tense and point-of-view coupled with a general disregard for linear time. Cortázar’s characters are more deeply integrated within their group, though, and the connections between them, particularly those of a romantic nature, are more centrally significant than in Lookout Cartridge.

62: A Model Kit particularly excels in its structure. In addition to defying laws of time and space, Cortázar also dispenses with rules of point-of-view, routinely shifting between third- and first-person within the same paragraph. There is fair warning of these literary transgressions provided by the author in a foreword, though the necessity of such a warning likely varies from reader to reader. As one settles into the strange, unstable environment of this novel it quickly becomes apparent that in order to fully immerse oneself any expectations are best left behind.

Similar to Nate's experience described in his excellent review, I did feel at odds with Cortázar on occasion. There were stretches where the romantic drama rose to a pitch I found rather banal, but then this would pass and Cortázar's originality would bloom once again across the page. And it's entirely possible that on a complete reread those passages that bored me before might come to feel integral to the text. Either way, though, the book comes closer to flawless than any I've read in quite some time.

[Also recommended: on Dennis Cooper's blog, Jeff Jackson's transcription of an interview with Cortázar while he was writing 62: A Model Kit.]
Profile Image for Hakan.
206 reviews158 followers
February 13, 2018
cortazar'ın en uç noktası bu roman. okurlarının mümkünse tüm külliyatını tamamladıktan sonra tırmanmayı denemesi gereken bir zirve.

tuhaf karakterlerin tuhaf varoluş sorgulamaları. zamanda, mekanda sıradışı gidiş gelişler, satırdan satıra değişen anlatıcılar, bilinç akışı, çözülmeyen gizem, muamma ve tabii metaforlar metaforlar. başdöndürücü.
Profile Image for AiK.
491 reviews112 followers
June 14, 2022
Этот антироман напоминает разбитый кристалл, который читатель должен собрать заново из фрагментов текста. Книг без смысла не бывает, если это только не легкое чтиво или откровенный набор слов. Здесь тоже есть смысл, и задача читателя (читателя-сообщника, а не читателя-самки) разгадать и составить из осколков свой собственный криста��л.
Идем в главу 62 «Игры в классики». «…драма безличная, где сознание и страсти персонажей подключаются, так сказать, уже по ходу дела. Как если бы на высшем уровне клубок взаимоотношений завязывался и развязывался сам собой.» Похоже, что эту идею Кортасар хотел воплотить. В романе много нетипичных вещений – это ахронологичность, и возможность индивидуальной интерпретации текста, собранного из фрагментов, отсутствие главного героя, на самом деле шесть героев (Хуан, Элен, Телль, Марраст, Николь, Калак) поочередно ведут свой рассказ. Несмотря на название «62. Модель для сборки» отсылающая к 62 главе «Игры в классики», этот антироман не является его продолжением или составной частью. На мой взгляд, этот антироман о любви и нелюбви. Хуан любит Элен. Она же не знает, любит ли его. В своих фантазиях она «убивает» его. Мысленно. Она встречает больного юношу, чей облик, чья улыбка неуловимо напоминает ей Хуана, она вводит иглу в вену для анестезии, и он говорит ей «до свидания» без лишних сантиментов. Эта фантазия, воспоминание о ней говорит, что она не любит Хуана. Это несчастливая любовь. Другой символ – это кукла, необычная кукла, созданная месье Оксом, кукольных дел мастером, который начинял своих кукол всем, чем придется, от непристойных вещей до крупных купюр, что вызвало ажиотаж, когда матери девочек начали потрошить кукол. Кукла, оказавшаяся в руках Хуана, тоже была начинена, но чем автор точно не сообщает, чем-то «мертвым», отвратительным. Телль, думая, что Хуан с самого начала хотел подарить куклу Элен, тайком высылает ей куклу. Селия, ночевавшая у Элен, в негодовании разбивает куклу. Что же это может символизировать? Мне кажется, куклы, начиненные от денег до не��ристойных вещей – это символ любовных отношений. Кукла, попавшая Хуану с чем-то «мертвым» - это символ неразделенной, «мертвой» любви, изначально обреченной быть разбитой, распотрошенной. Отношения Хуана и Телль не были любовью, Телль «заменяла» Хуану Элен, и Телль чувствовала это. И Телль избавилась от куклы – символа неразделенной любви. Элен тоже ее не приняла, и разбила ее Селия. Другой символ – это скульптура, создаваемая Маррастом из глыбы антрацита. Его скульптура была вызовом – и сам материал, и кубическое решение, и перемена местами статуи и пьедестала, ошеломившие публику, которая сравнивает творение с осьминогом и чемоданом. Так и антироман является вызовом. Это кристалл, который получился у меня. Возможно, другие читатели-сообщники увидели другую символику, и у них получился другой кристалл.
Profile Image for Aslı Can.
707 reviews206 followers
January 28, 2019
Nasıl kitap, ne anlatıyor diye sorduklarında cevap veremediğim bir kitap oldu. Cortazar hem karakterlerininhem okurunun elinden dili alıp, evirip çevirip, kekeletip, onları yeni bir dil bulmaya mecbur ediyor. Teşvik ediyor, cesaretlendiriyor. Üstelik bunu umutlu vaatler vererek de yapmıyor. Çukura düşme olasılığını bile bile atlıyorsun gözün kapalı. Bu yüzden ben Cortazar'ın yazdıklarının kitaptan biraz öte şeyler olduğunu düşünüyorum.

Yazdıklarını okumak da, kitap okumak gibi değil de sessizce birilerin yanında gezmek, bir şeylere eşlik etmek gibi. Okudukların savrulurken oturduğun yerden izlemiyorsun, sen de savruluyorsun onlarla. Kaybolmak diye bir şey yok. Tek bir cümleyi ya da bir paragrafı okuyup okumadığının hiçbir anlamı yok. İstediğin yerden ya da sana kendini isteten yerden başla okumaya. Sayfaların yerini değiştir. Cümleleri atla. Kelimelerin yerlerini değiştir. Bulacağın şey, onu aradığın yerden bambaşka bir yerde seni bulacak. Bulduğun şey, o aradığın olmayacak. Okuma bu kitabı, kes, parçalara ayır ve her gün rastgele seçtiğin bir kelimeyi camdan aşağıya bırak. Sonra koş peşinden o kelimenin. Sonunda bir su göletinin içinde ya da bir salıncağın tepe noktasında Cortazar'ı bulacaksın.
Profile Image for Inderjit Sanghera.
450 reviews92 followers
September 6, 2020
A byproduct of a chapter from Cortázar’s experimental novel ‘Hopscotch’, ’62: A Model Kit’ explores the lives of various louche and lachrymose intellectuals in Paris and London. It isn’t so much the dialogue, which mainly consists of pseudo-intellectual posturing, which draws the reader in, or the characters who act more as caricatures than well-rounded characters, but the unique atmosphere which Cortázar creates, one of a grimy, rain-soaked metropolises, whose grubbiness seeps into the pages of the novel and imbues it with a sense of hopelessness. In many ways there is something surreal and abstract in Cortazar’s depictions of the world around him and yet, at the same time something strangely and uniquely beautiful;

“Helene received a postcard yesterday from Italy with a view of Bari in colour. Looking at it upside down with half-closed eyes, a honeycomb with infinite sparkling cells and a shoreline on top, it dissolved into an abstracton of rarely delicacy”

This sense of strangeness is also reflected in the characters and their dialogue. Cortazar constantly switches back and forth between scenes and characters, with some being repeated from a different perspective, giving the reader a sense of deja vu as the constantly feel like they have read this scene or heard this dialogue before. Cortazar’s dizzying style disorientates the reader as they feel, somewhat like the characters, perpetually trapped in an existential nightmare, doomed to live and relive the same banal moments over and over again. Whilst this can at times be frustrating and difficult to read, ’62: A Model Kit’ is the finest distillation of Cortazar’s aesthetics and, whilst no reaching the heights of his short stories, represents one of the most interesting literary experiments of the last century.
Profile Image for Bill.
308 reviews312 followers
July 11, 2009
Very interesting and unusual novel. It's a bit slow to start with and not an easy read by any means but well worth the effort. It's too bad more people haven't read Cortazar.
Profile Image for Jimmy.
512 reviews713 followers
March 9, 2022
Before I start I want to say a quick disclaimer that I TOTALLY don't have this book figured out. I will continue by saying that I have completely figured it out. This is confusing because I just told you I didn't have it figured out. But it's kind of like a catch-22 to trick myself, I had to say I'm pretty sure my "answer" to this novel is incorrect, so that I can give myself full permission to engage in the most bonkers thought experiment that's sure to be wrong. But it's true also because I both think I have it figured out (in some personally satisfying way at least) and at the same time I'm sure I'm incorrect (in an objective way). It's like in math where you have to use imaginary numbers in order to arrive at a real answer, but afterwards it's like you did a dirty deed and you're sure it's not allowed, but still you have this answer and is it real?

Secondly, I'm going to ask you to completely forget expendable chapter 62 of Hopscotch. I think it's a red herring. True, it's how Cortázar initially came up with the idea, but in execution something changed. I think the idea of connectedness still rings true in a general way, but when he talks about chemistry on a neuronic level, it seems inapplicable here. In an interview Cortázar even says:
la hipótesis de Morelli está realizada parcialmente pero no totalmente. Yo no creo que sea practicable, incluso creo que no tiene interés literario.

["Morelli’s hypothesis is partially but not fully realised. I do not think it practicable, I even think it lacks literary interest."] 1
So let's drop that notion in order to free up mental space to think of other possibilities.


"OK holy fucking shit," you're saying to yourself. "Is this really necessary?" No. The answer is a definite "no". But like Julio Cortázar, I love thought experiments and elaborate games, and for the last few days after totally immersing myself into this novel for a second time (the first time I let it all wash over me not worrying about understanding, but this time I took notes and mapped out everything that happened in it, so I understood it in that way, at least... a very literal and boring type of understanding) my mind kept pushing me to the preposterous idea of quantum entanglement.

You see, quantum entanglement is a concept that I don't understand at all, maybe even less than I understand this book. And so what better way to understand a book I don't understand, than with a physics concept that I understand even less? I think that's something Julio Cortázar would approve of. I mean, it really seems on brand for him.

So what is quantum entanglement? According to this video, it's basically a theory that "an event at one point in the universe can instantaneously affect another event arbitrarily far away." But you really should watch the video and come back here because it's really hard to explain and it's slightly easier when you can see a visual representation (however inaccurate). Go ahead, I'll wait.

But there is debate on how this works. Some physicists believe that entangled particles have a way of signaling each other faster than light to update their hidden information when one is measured. When I think of this explanation, I find it highly inelegant and unlikely. To me, it seems obvious that these entangled particles are not communicating at all, because they are ONE AND THE SAME. Yes, they could be light years away and still be one and the same as long as they are connected via a 4th dimension.

Imagine Osvaldo the Snail. He is racing across the train seat from point A to point B, leaving a slimy trail in the first dimension. A hand has set him down at point A, and a hand waits for him at point B. From Osvaldo's point of view, assuming he can only perceive in 2 dimensions, these two hands are disconnected entities. But in our world, these are simply the left and right hands of Calac.

I think in the world of this novel 'The City' is that fourth dimension. Characters slip in and out of it, not knowing that they are connected, that they are one and the same, each one chasing and pining for the other. In real life, they are in different cities, impossibly far apart, but they can still meet in this fourth dimension called The City, at least theoretically, although things are weird here. Very weird.

Come to think of it, crossing impossible distances seems to be at the center of many of Cortázar's jokes. Not just Osvaldo the snail's snail's pace across the seat back, but also Calac and Polanco being shipwrecked in a pond, 20 feet from shore and having to be rescued, a long running joke that ends in a sort of raft problem reminiscent of an IQ question. But it also reminds me of the bridge problem in Hopscotch, another silly-yet-serious conjecture.

These jokes are made even more ridiculous by the triviality of these distances. Just as Calac and Polanco could have easily waded through a few feet of the pond to safety, but refused to see that as a possibility, perhaps WE live in a world where we see distances as impossible when they are not. We are like Osvaldo, oblivious to the higher dimensions.

The most impossible of distances, of course, are the ones inside of ourselves, inside of Nicole when she cannot face Marrast, inside of Hélène, in which she could not be reached by Juan or anyone else. This metaphorical distance is not one that even the City can aide in, for Juan pursues Hélène through the city to no avail, always missing her by the length of a streetcar or two.


The novel changes point of view constantly, so that when "I" is speaking, you have to quickly figure out who "I" is. This is similar to how when "my paredros" is brought up, only the speaker of that phrase knows who he/she is referring to. Not even the other characters know who each other are referring to, as is illustrated in the episode where Marrast and Nicole are talking, and Marrast made the huge mistake of assuming Nicole's "my paredros" did not include Juan, so he added "my paredros and Juan" which he later regretted because he really didn't want to bring up the specter of Juan in the middle of their relationship.

Another type of entanglement at work here is the metaphor. Cortázar uses repetition and juxtaposition to establish equivalencies that are not really there. He entangles one thing with another simply by jamming them together in a sentence. So Juan becomes the boy in the hospital, who is being operated on like the doll who splits in half. Celia is the girl in the Babybel cheese poster. And Hélène is to Celia as Frau Marta is to the English girl in the hotel room.

This kind of entanglement, of images and points of view, of who is talking and even of who is being referred to via a phrase like "my paredros" makes a whole lot more sense when you consider the city as a fourth dimension that cuts through time and space, instantaneously linking any two individuals so that they are one and the same, yet perhaps still separate, or having the illusion of being separate.

Speaking of "my paredros" I think it's absolutely insane that Cortázar came up with this idea. When pared down, it's basically a device to help refer to someone without naming them. So in a way, it's a pronoun. But pronouns help because they provide a short way of saying something. In this case, there is nothing short about it, and it does not add any "value" in terms of efficient communication. All it does is add ambiguity.

It still baffles me that Cortázar created a formal device to ADD ambiguity. Many writers will create formal devices to help communicate what they mean easier (i.e. remove ambiguity). Or if they want ambiguity, they'll write in a very vague way, intentionally not spelling out what they're trying to say. But other than (debatably) Emily Dickinson's dash, I can't think of any other writer who has created a formal device for adding ambiguity for no apparent reason at all, and for this he is a genius. An asshole and a genius.


I wanted to put in a few words about the actual experience of reading the book, because if you're just reading this review and all you see is quantum physics and weird space time mobiuses, you may get the wrong impression that this book is just a bunch of puzzles or a thought experiment with no heart. Nothing could be further from the truth. On one level, there are all these games, but underneath it all, there are insights into relationships here that rang so true and blew me away time and again. The depth of Cortázar's understanding of human relationships does not at all suffer because of his interest in really elaborate games. He can be both, just like a particle can be in both places at the same time.

In fact, more than any other Cortázar book (that I've read), I think 62: A Model Kit most successfully melds all these aspects of Cortázar into one coherent experience... his funny playful side, his mischievous prankster side, his super-smart philosophical side, and his deeply humanist side. Just like the images that flow in and out of these paragraphs, so too do all of Cortázar's various sides. The book strikes very different tones, but they work harmoniously here in the most masterful way; sometimes the lighthearted stuff helps give the reader a breather from the darker stuff. But other times, the lighthearted stuff is actually pretty deep in itself, as when you realize Marrast's prank on the museum director and Neurotics Anonymous is a way for him to avoid facing his real problems with Nicole.

Likewise, the concepts that drive The City (whether it's entanglement like I've proposed here, or something else entirely) aren't purely cerebral puzzles to be solved or understood separately; they are central to the meaning and emotional backbone of the story. It would be a different (and lesser) story without these various threads running through them.


Thus ends my review. What follows is a guide to help other readers, mostly those who have already read the book once. It's fun to go into it blind the first time! But on the subsequent visits, it's nice to be reminded of what happens so that you can tease out more from it without worrying too much about the plot. For first timers, I recommend Oriana's review, as it is a great primer that doesn't contain spoilers. I'm not so careful, and what follows will contain many spoilers.

I've moved this section to a separate page. Follow this link to see it.

All my actions in that last half-hour were placed in a perspective that could only have meaning after what had happened to me in the Polidor, wiping out in a crazy way any ordinary causal bond.
I just re-read the novel for a third time, not all the way through, only passages that I marked to re-read because I didn't understand it the second time. Throughout my second reading, I noticed that cause and effect are significantly and intentionally warped in this novel, so that things happening after could cause things that happened before. But I didn't know how to talk about it. Now, my third time through, I think I have more of an idea.
...a lesson of things, a display of how once more the before and the after had fallen apart in his hands, leaving him a light, useless rain of dead moths.
The book begins at the end. Juan arrives at the Polidor and looks back at the story that just happened (or is going to happen, depending on your perspective). The book really begins 15% into the book, the section starting "Why was Dr. Daniel Lysons DCL MD holding a branch of..." (There's a weird bit in there about Polanco's dream of finding beating hearts that doesn't really fit in, but whatever)

Back to Juan: he has a realization which is triggered by a "coagulation" of events (bloody castle, Sylvanner, Michel Butor book). How those things lead to this realization is anybody's guess. My best attempt is bloody castle = blood = vampire? Also what exactly he realizes is not clear. My guess is that he realizes that Hélène raped Celia (or did her vampy thing on her). And that what he witnessed with Frau Marta and the English girl is a stand in for what happened with Hélène and Celia (parallel realities?). He doesn't want to believe this, but he realizes that it's the truth:
Look, I will resist to the end the fact that it had to be that way, I will prefer to the end to name Frau Marta who leads me by the hand along the Blutgasse where the palace of the countess is still sketched in its moldy mist. I will persist in substituting a girl from London in the place of one from Paris, one face for another...
Similarly, to Hélène, the boy in the hospital was a stand in for Juan. Again, things are made equivalent, and it is as if they are those things.
If in the last redoubt of my honesty she and the countess and Frau Marta were joined together in one same abominable image, hadn’t Hélène said at some time to me—or would tell me later, as if I hadn’t known it all along—that the only image that she could keep of me was that of a man dead in a hospital? We exchanged visions, metaphors, or dreams; sooner or later we would continue on alone, looking at each other so many nights over cups of coffee.
There's talk of a deck of cards and how they're dealt. These cards can be dealt in any order, an order that implies before and after. Similarly, the scenes in the book are like a deck of cards, all shuffled out of order. Juan thinks that if he could just get the order of the cards right, that he could meet up with Hélène in the city, and that things would have turned out differently. That he could have prevented it.
and I’ll deal them again my way, time after time, until I convince myself of a repetition without appeal or find you finally as I had wanted to find you in the city or in the zone
Meanwhile Hélène thinks she could have prevented the boy in the hospital (which she associates with Juan) from dying, and that it is similarly a matter of order. Somehow she thinks that vamping on Celia before meeting the boy in the hospital would have helped prevent it (Is this what she's thinking? I'm not sure now, it's hard to figure out what she's thinking. Maybe the boy didn't die because of an accident? Maybe Hélène caused it because she was hungry for blood? I don't know.)

But they are both wrong, as the order would not have changed anything. Cause and effect are like a snake eating its own tail. It seems like Juan is the cause for Hélène's vamping and death while at the same time Hélène is the cause of Juan's hospital-double dying. Does this relate to quantum physics? I don't know, probably not, except that time works differently at a quantum level. It doesn't matter, not everything has to fit into my stupid theory, which is probably wrong anyway.

Earlier I wrote that the city was a place that connects them, but that is too simplistic. Nobody ever connects in the city, they go there and they're mostly alone and it's all weird. I still think it connects them in a way, but not like they go to hang out and shit. Maybe it's more of a spiritual connection.

By the way, what is this "vampy thing"? I like to refer to it as that, perhaps to make light of it. But it's not lighthearted at all, it's serious. Is it literally a vampire bite? Is it a rape? Is it something in between? Is it a metaphor for something? Maybe an emotional vampirism, a kind of sucking out of one's energy and spirit? This will probably never be solved, but it's interesting to think about.
But telling [...] would be putting things in order, like a person dissecting birds, and they know that, too, in the zone, and the first one to smile would be my paredros, the first to yawn would be Polanco, and you too, Hélène, when instead of your name I put out smoke rings and figures of speech.
So my third time reading it and I'm back to doubts and questions. Which is as it should be. I feel a bit like I've dissected a bird that I shouldn't have.
Profile Image for Jimmy.
512 reviews713 followers
March 3, 2022
NOTE: this is a review I wrote after reading the book for the very first time. For a more insightful review, see this one that I wrote after my second read here. Thanks...

This book came from analytical, almost scientific beginnings, the concept of which is detailed in chapter 62 of Hopscotch. But the experience of reading this book is anything but scientific, it is like waking up from a dream: you genuinely feel things in your own logical way, but now that you're awake and back in this world it is impossible to put into our human words, words that are real ones, that seem so insufficient, mere human words which are the same instruments that Cortazar uses to make you feel this way to begin with. This has got to be one of the most ambitious books ever attempted. I still have very little idea what happened or what it means, but the general "feel" of the book is in my bones, as if I had just walked into a heavy fog.

That said, I still think Cortazar can do better. The first half of this book blew me away, but in the last half that precarious and perfect balance started to break down a little bit for me. What is it exactly? Hard to say, as everything about this book is so hard to put into words. But it has something to do with the silliness of the whole Carac, Pollanco, snail thing that worked in the first half because it was still mysteriously strange and relatively rare but by the second half I started dreading their appearance. It also has to do with the fact that some of the plot elements began to come into focus, and almost get in the way of the actual emotions/atmosphere. That may not be the case on a second read, though.

If this were from any other author, I would give it 5 stars. But even though I haven't read a book by Cortazar that I have given a 5 star rating yet, I definitely feel like he's already one of my favorites, and yet... Cortazar in my mind is like a pure writer. I don't know if that makes sense, but in his sentences sometimes I see the perfect unadulterated writer, driven purely by something within the writing itself, within the sounds and the logic that has nothing to do with things outside. Perhaps because it is the glimpse of this perfection that I see so often in him that I want to find something of his that sustains it purely. But also perhaps because he is a pure writer that he can never write something that sustains this, that it only comes out in bursts--because his messiness is what makes him so pure and beautiful and human.

I have a feeling that last paragraph only made sense to me.
Profile Image for Martin Hernandez.
810 reviews27 followers
January 5, 2013
Hay libros buenos, que uno los lee con atención y al terminarlos, listo, ya estuvo, te quedas con un buen sabor de boca y pasas al siguiente libro sin mayor trámite. Y hay otros libros que son más que buenos, que te atrapan, que necesitas leer con calma, y al final de cada párrafo necesitas detenerte a reflexionar, a contrastar lo que dice el libro con tu propia experiencia, y casi deseas que el libro no acabe. "62/Modelo para Armar" es de estos últimos. Maravilloso, magistral, inolvidable. Con mucho, a obra más experimental de CORTÁZAR, más que "Rayuela", más que cualquier otra cosa que haya escrito.
Profile Image for Mariel.
667 reviews1,054 followers
May 19, 2012
I enter my city without knowing how.

A goodreads friend of mine recently said in a review of hers about a book that I loved and she hated that it was "emperor's new clothes". I wouldn't have the arctic articles necessary, or the down to the bones baring all to defend myself in someone else's mind about what I related to about being dreamtruck. I couldn't say if I was "right" or anyone else was "wrong". I'd be afraid to know. I try not to look down, like an afraid of heights thing. My gut felt what it felt and I'd swoon before I knew what was happening. Here I am again and my reactions to 62: a Model Kit are not intellectual. I've thought about the book a lot and it still isn't. I don't feel that they ever are, my responses, when it comes to me and the people in stories. I've read it twice if you don't count rereading passages and flipping back (what Cortazar intended for Hopscotch. Hopscotch I read in three days, if you don't count quotes, and Blow-up took me months, if you don't count my lying on online read dates). There are structure things, perspectives and inside heads, inside dolls, back to the past and stepping over border lines and definitions of words I would never have dreamed about. I'm out of my depth and drowning and I don't have to worry about that because I'll never reach the bottom of the pool (or ocean. Cortazar loves rivers). I feel rewarded for taking the plunge.

I'm stuck on "my paredros".

The city was not explained; it was. It had emerged sometimes in conversations in the zone, and although the first one to bring news of the city had been my paredros, being or not being in the city became almost a routine for all of us except Feuille Morte. And since we’re already talking about that, it could for the same reason be said that my paredros was a routine in the sense that among us there was always something we called my paredros, a term introduced by Calac and which we used without the slightest feeling of a joke because the quality of paredros alluded, as can be seen, to an associated entity, a kind of buddy or substitute or baby-sitter for the exceptional, and, by extension, a delegating of what was one’s own to that momentary alien dignity without losing any of ours underneath it all, just as any image of the places we had walked could be a delegation of the city, or the city could delegate something of its own (the square with the streetcars, the archways with women selling fish, the north canal) to any of the places through which we walked and in which we were living at the time.

They all have a "my paredros" that they talk about. I suspected what they all were and I'm not sure. I think it has something to do with why part of Helene is still somewhere else. In the girl who loved babybel cheese's face to the wall, in the smile of the boy who was not Juan, in how Marrast (a Mar like me) couldn't keep Nicole in his somewhere else just like how the need to feel ok about someone is more important than missing them or not sometimes, Nicole loving Juan, Juan who wouldn't have appealed to me at all as he did to them and yet I get it because he's somewhere else in his wanting Helene, Celia loves babybel cheese like advertising youth instead of cheese, Tell the crazy Dane with her games and city associations and I like her even more because I'm fixated a bit on crazy Dane Jens Peter Jacobsen, is she really a vampire countess or is it in the King of Hungary hotel or is it the king of Spain? Would any of it had ever happened if it hadn't been for that and are these invisible what ifs my paredros or what you want to happen or what's not there that makes them so important? Like being in a lot of different cities. Is absence what makes my heart grow fonder? I have no idea what I think anything is and yet the trying to decide what my paredros is has got me. I'm stuck on the alphabet in the backwards newspaper in the mirror that looked like Russian characters. I could stare and try to read it and never could because I don't read backwards and I don't read Russian. But I sit all the time and wonder about absences and what ifs... I can't read other people's minds either. I just want to know what the my paredros is in gut wrenching situations, or being dreamstruck or trying to feel right about something so you can move on.

My paredros when reading 62: a model kit wasn't about the city but about the people. I give myself two hours of "getting lost" time when I go to new places (and I have been lost going to places I've been to before). Marrast and I would call each other Mar. I don't need Juan to make up games but I would like to take a look at those dolls.

This review probably sounds like babbling bull shit... Just know that I got wrapped up in who meant what to whom and where it was going. Naked or dressed up. Cortazar is both. I think without end and yet I have the feeling that it's in the heart. Or is the brain or soul or heart the same city.

P.s. I'm glad that I named my bird after Cortazar. I knew it before I knew it that I was going to be saying his name a lot.

Profile Image for Carlos.
170 reviews71 followers
December 17, 2020
Las pesquisas cortazianas encuentran quizá su máxima expresión en la exploración narrativa que esta novela propone, rompiendo por así decir todas las reglas que en un comienzo, en Rayuela, el autor transgredió de manera enfática. Con ello quiero decir que 62/Modelo para armar es un experimento metafísico en donde la azarosa búsqueda se convierte en una complicada mutación de los personajes que deambulan en un ir y venir insistente sobre un mapa en que tres puntos convergen: Par��s, Viena y Londres. El triángulo que se forma, cuyos vértices territoriales son traspasados una y otra vez hasta hacerlos ilegibles, altera la personalidad de los actores (muy a la manera de Pirandello) al grado de que ellos mismos, crean a su vez, en la forma en como se tejen sus relaciones, más triángulos. Los bloques narrativos, separados por simples espacios en blanco, bien podrían ser las piezas de un gran rompecabezas cuyo orden obedece a una lógica que Morelli había vislumbrado ya, alejada de postulados psicológicos y que toma forma a partir de la lectura. Así, tal parece que los trozos (o piezas, o fragmentos) se fueran tejiendo justo frente a nosotros al momento de dar vuelta a la siguiente página.

No sería muy arriesgado decir que en la hechura de la novela hay algo de aquella noción de la deconstrucción de Jacques Derrida: un intento de lograr orden dentro del caos, unidad a partir de la dispersión. Y si bien ese ordenamiento obedece a nuevas reglas del pensamiento, lo verdaderamente fascinante es la manera en que Julio Cortázar construye (y deconstruye) una obra que se asemeja a la muñeca que aparece en varias secciones, que pasa de mano en mano (y con ello traspasa los vértices del gran triángulo), es fraccionada (rota a la mitad) y hasta explorada por dentro. Así, la historia propone un camino no lineal cuyos complicados trazos emulan en mucho las relaciones entre los personajes. En mi opinión, Juan es más Maga que Oliveira, tan solo por qué las mutaciones que sufre son justamente aquellos viajes metafísicos que tan fácilmente emprendía Lucía en las páginas de Rayuela. Pero para ser justos, debería decir que es una mezcla de ambos (la idea de la mutación es fundamental en esta obra). Hélène parece ser una representación más del imaginario de Juan (afectado por contingencias y tropismos), al igual que las palabras del comensal gordo en el restaurant Polidor, justo al inicio de la historia. Y por ello, fantasmal e inalcanzable, se escabulle en el tranvía y permuta (o parece permutar...) en Nicole. La línea que une a los personajes (esa serie de triángulos que como ya he dicho, se sobreponen uno sobre otro) es fascinante: Marrast ama a Nicole, que ama a Juan, que ama a Hélène, que no ama a nadie. Calac y Polanco (un par de argentinos que de alguna extraña manera me recuerdan a Bouvard y Pecuchet) forman otro triangulo con Juan y así sucesivamente.

Las dos partes en que Rayuela está dividida (los dos vectores geográficos París-Buenos Aires, llamados simplemente "Del lado de allá" y "Del lado de acá" ofrecen ya un vistazo a ese tercer lado del triangulo en la sección "De otros lados". En mi opinión, el triangulo sugerido es una premonición de esta novela, escrita cinco años después) bifurcan aquí siguiendo siempre la composición tripartita. Esta es sin duda la novela más experimental de Cortázar. Su lectura requiere gran concentración y una especie de desdoblamiento mental para dejar fluir la fantasía y las transgresiones a las que el autor nos prepara en el prólogo, en el que nuevamente aparece la idea de “la opción del lector”, refiriéndose al “montaje personal” y su elección única e irrepetible de lectura.
Profile Image for MJ Nicholls.
2,024 reviews4,074 followers
January 6, 2018
An abstruse and maddening afterthought from Hopscotch, this novel is Cortázar’s most challenging and experimental work, bursting from Chapter 62 in which Morelli contemplates writing a book “in which standard behaviour would be inexplicable by means of current instrumental psychology” (blurb). A series of intellectuals in Paris, Vienna, and London intersect inside the thicket of Cortázar’s shifting and free-floating prose, in which tense, character, setting, and narrator can change within the space of a sentence, creating a fluid, surreal, nonsensical, lyrical style that requires intense concentration and offers an intentional obstruction of the reader’s usual expectations of linear sentences. On this reading, I allowed myself to float along the surface of the inscrutable, angular prose, and experienced an unpleasurable, meandering series of pages followed by a series of humorous, poetic, involving ones. Failed to locate the scintillating spark that others found in this one.
Profile Image for David Katzman.
Author 3 books450 followers
September 1, 2016
A tale of two cities. One is Madrid the other imaginary. A tale of two novels written by itinerant, international authors both of whom had Spanish as their first language. A tale of two experimental novels. One I loved; one I did not. Can you guess which is which?

Cortazar published 62: A Model Kit in Spanish in 1968; the edition I read was translated in 1972. Alfau published Locos: a Comedy of Gestures in 1936 in English. Cortazar had Argentinean parents but was born in Europe then moved back to Buenos Aires when he was very young and later, back to Europe. Alfau was born in Barcelona but moved to the United States when he was 14. Locos was published when he was 34.

Call me crazy, but I loved Locos. Pun intended. It is charming and cruel, tragic and hilarious, ambiguous yet direct, and written with clear, poetic prose. The experimental style on display never overwhelmed the narrative. Despite the fact that Alfau directly declares the fictive nature of his characters, he made me care about them. Unfortunately, I found 62: a Model Kit to be nearly the opposite despite significant similarities. Cortazar seems to be peopling an imaginary city with characters and scenarios imagined by the very characters in the story, but unfortunately they never seemed real. The characters seemed undeveloped, Cortazar would reveal a quirky trait here or there, but they came across as highly abstract intellectual exercises. Where as Alfau acknowledges the characters are abstract, but he made them seem real! I found the prose in 62 to be opaque and unwelcoming. The sentences zigzagged in ways that didn't complement my brain. I felt like I was constantly trying to trace the thoughts of an intellectual squirrel on crystal meth. (Have you ever done crystal meth? It's like being on a mega-dose of caffeine but it sucks out all your wit. You are basically an idiot who thinks he's not.) At any rate, every phrase that Cortazar wrote took the sentence in a different direction, and I became tired of trying to figure out what he was trying to say. I found the writing tedious. I couldn't get the meaning out of it. I don't know if I should put some blame on the translation or not, but after 60 pages I threw in the towel. I skimmed forward just to pick out sentences here and there and could see that it was essentially the same book throughout. This experience was severely disappointing after I quite enjoyed reading Autonauts of the Cosmoroute

With Locos , Alfau seems to be following in the footsteps of fellow Spaniard Luigi Pirandello who wrote a play in 1921 entitled Six Characters In Search of an Author. I actually performed in this show in college! But Alfau goes to a place that blends great humor with the tragedy. The story begins (roughly) with Alfau, playing himself, at a cafe with a "friend" who becomes a character in the book. This cafe is where bad authors go to discover characters for their stories. In that cafe, we meet many of the characters who will populate the book. Note the irony. What follows is a series of interconnected short stories about many of them. Most characters reappear throughout and even when they are not featured, a brief mention may act as a dramatic revelation that changes significantly what you read before. And further, some of the characters seem to metamorphosize and despite having the same names, serve different roles or have different relationships in subsequent stories. The entirety manages to hold together as more of a novel than a collection partly thanks to the overlapping characters, partly through the consistent tone and style, and partly because Alfau is always in the background or making appearances as "the author." He has several charming asides regarding how his characters have "gotten away from him," and he can't quite control them. Trust me, it just works.

Some of the stories are quite hilarious. Some are devastating and yet often absurd. In one case, a man is obsessed with fingerprints because he believes his father invented the...science of fingerprints? And didn't receive the recognition he deserves. In another scenario, the police are having a convention in Madrid at the same time as a blackout citywide occurs, which leads to a crimewave of everyone mugging just about everyone. And the police are so busy with their convention that they are too tired to even arrest anyone. It's so ridiculous, Lucy. The theme of the absurdity of life is never far from the surface.

I devoured Locos; I dropped 62 like a hot potato. If you want to dip your toe into some literature that is experimental without being alienating, then I highly recommend Locos. It's just flat out brilliant, feels modern (post) in content and style, and it's a book that can be read multiple times. Love, love, loved it.
Profile Image for Pollo.
588 reviews58 followers
October 31, 2022
¿Estaré calificando el libro o mi desempeño al armar este modelo? Como con Rayuela, valdría la pena rearmarlo a ver si así lo leo mejor.

Si llega ese día tal vez intercambie a Nicole con Celia, a Marrast con Juan, a los tártaros con los neuróticos anónimos; quizás emparejo a Helene con Austin, y a Tell en un trío con Polanco y Calac. No será necesario ya mencionar ninguna ciudad, todas serán París, Londres y Viena.

Novela por momentos malcontenta, en la que en el último tercio se logra aumentar el interés tiene la ventaja de casi carecer de referencias a películas, jazz o literatura. En la primera página, unas palabras mal entendidas y la imagen de un espejo nos embarcan en esta historia donde el lenguaje no es lo que parece y el reflejo pueden devolvernos algo inesperado pero que sí tiene un orden, como lo tiene cualquier cosa que uno quiera armar: una elaborada broma en un museo, una estatua de Vercingétorix o un nuevo bote a reacción.

El libro merece una repetición, ojalá ahora sí encuentre a mi paredro.
Profile Image for Andrés Borja.
29 reviews
June 25, 2014
El experimento de Morelli en el capítulo 62 de 'Rayuela' termina siendo una maravilla de novela. Con mucho del aire de la misma 'Rayuela', '62/Modelo para armar' se siente como una segunda parte o al menos como una ramificación digna del tronco de origen. Cortázar en su mejor momento, con un estilo particularísimo, esa manera de pasar casi imperceptiblemente de un narrador a otro en medio de un mismo párrafo, como si las consciencias se pegaran unas con otras y se confundieran. Un nuevo grupo de personajes memorables, más memorables, me atrevo a decir, que los del club de la serpiente; aquí todos son protagonistas perfectamente caracterizados. En fin, una novela deliciosa.
Profile Image for Come Musica.
1,537 reviews378 followers
May 1, 2016
Una lettura disorientante.
Ci si chiede, nel leggerla, dov'è ambientata la scena, di che si sta parlando, e si torna indietro per rileggere meglio.
Tanti racconti, tanti luoghi in uno, tante facce di un unico prisma, componibile appunto.

Geniale, Cortázar!
Profile Image for Héctor Genta.
357 reviews70 followers
July 25, 2020
«Capire, capire… Tu capisci per caso?»
«Non lo so, probabilmente no. Comunque ormai non servirebbe a nulla».

Un libro che prende le mosse dal capitolo 62 di Rayuela e in puro stile cortázariano si propone di scardinare le regole del romanzo classico per avventurarsi in terreni non battuti. Lo fa partendo da una frase di stampo oulipiano ("Vorrei un castello insanguinato", aveva detto il cliente corpulento) per dare inizio a una serie di riflessioni su un libro di Michel Butor, su una donna misteriosa (Hélène, o forse una contessa o forse una Frau Marta) e sul caso ("Perché sono entrato nel Polidor, perché ho comprato il libro e l'ho aperto a caso e altrettanto a caso ho letto una frase qualsiasi appena un secondo prima che quel cliente corpulento ordinasse una bistecca quasi cruda?"). Un libro sull'inutile desiderio di capire, sul tentativo di interpretare tutto quello che accade come fosse segno di qualcosa, come traccia da seguire per identificare una pista che in realtà non esiste e che pure ci ostiniamo a cercare.
Si sale per una strada ricca di curve, avviati su meandri pericolosi che puntano dritti verso la palude dei meccanismi interiori, un luogo nel quale memoria e fantasia finiscono per confondersi conducendo la nostra ricerca della conoscenza su un binario morto. Eppure.
Eppure "qualcosa mi lascerai fra le mani", pensa il protagonista. L'uomo non si arrende, non arretra davanti al vuoto e non rinuncia ad interrogarsi, perché vive di domande più che di risposte. La soluzione all'enigma diventa un dettaglio perché quello che interessa l'uomo e lo attrae come la luce la falena è l'enigma stesso. Il modello è Ulisse, il viaggio dell'uomo alla scoperta del mondo e di se stesso.
E il viaggio che ci propone Cortázar - è bene ribadirlo - non prevede per il lettore comodi scompartimenti di prima classe ma una dura camminata attraverso sentieri impervi con passaggi repentini dalla narrazione interna al punto di vista esterno, continui cambiamenti di scenario tra Londra, Parigi, Vienna, Mantova… e un frenetico alternarsi di personaggi dei quali si fatica a ricostruire i rapporti e che vivono più di sogni che di realtà, non ancora integrati e organici alla società. Lispectoriano? Forse, ma se l'occhio dell'autrice brasiliana guarda indubbiamente verso l'interno, quello dello scrittore argentino sembra rivolto anche verso l'esterno (la "Città", la "zona"). Lispectoriano? Per certi versi sì, e penso alle riflessioni di Cortázar sulla costruzione da parte dei personaggi del libro di un alfabeto privato, che permette loro di comunicare escludendo gli altri e soprattutto al linguaggio inteso come "arte combinatoria di ricordi e circostanze" che invece di aiutare falsifica al punto che seguendo il suo punto di vista si potrebbe arrivare a definire la vita come una specie di gioco nel quale la colpa della fine della storia d'amore di Juan con Hélène è dovuta ad una lettura sbagliata delle carte, sapendo che "qualcosa che non siamo noi gioca con questo mazzo di carte in cui siamo picche e cuori ma non le mani che le mischiano e le combinano, gioco vertiginoso nel quale riusciamo soltanto a conoscere la sorte che ci tesse e disfa a ogni giocata, la figura che ci precede o ci segue, la sequenza con la quale la mano ci propone all'avversario, la battaglia di azzardi e di scarti che decide la posta e i ritiri". Eppure "io continuerò a cercare il varco, Hélène, tutto mischierò di nuovo per incontrarti come voglio."
Già, il varco. Un passaggio stretto e non per tutti, una specie di porta su un'altra dimensione che permette ai personaggi del libro di incontrarsi a un livello ideale più che reale, su una zattera astratta che galleggia sospesa sul mondo e che rappresenta la loro salvezza ("La nostra salvezza è una vita tacita che ha poca attinenza con il quotidiano o l'astronomico, un influsso spesso che lotta contro la facile dispersione in qualsivoglia conformismo o qualsivoglia ribellione più o meno privi d'iniziativa propria, […] la vita come qualcosa di estraneo di cui bisogna però prendersi cura").
Quello che Juan e gli altri cercano, quello che Cortázar cerca, è in sostanza la libertà. Dalle parole, dai vincoli, dalle convenzioni. Libertà di essere come si è.
Inutile aggiungere altro, così come aggiungere dettagli di una trama che sembra costruita apposta per spostarsi un po' più in là ogni volta che si cerca di avvicinarla o, peggio, di comprenderla. La mia chiave di lettura per avvicinarsi a Componibile 62 è quindi più emotiva che logica e in questo mi sono di conforto le stesse parole di Juan:
"Che senso aveva spiegare? Il semplice fatto che fosse necessario dimostrava ironicamente la sua inutilità".
Profile Image for Alex.
479 reviews104 followers
February 12, 2020
Nu pot spune ca stiu exact ce am citit. Dupa cum spune si Cortazar la inceput, cartea se poate citi in orice fel, incepand cu oricare capitol si continuand cu altul decat cel ce urmeaza. Dar la ce altceva te poti astepta de la Cortazar. Experimente lingvistice, imagini si metafore neasteptate (chapeau traducatorului in limba romana, nu cred ca a fost usor).
In fond povestea nu e complicata: sunt cativa prieteni, iar Juan este un cuceritor de inimi feminine, reusind sa le vrajeasca pe rand pe Nicole, daneza Tell si Helene (de fapt cu Helene povestea e mai complicata, nu am inteles daca au fost impreuna si la sfarsit se regasesc sau a existat dintotdeauna o atractie care se materializeaza in final). Nicole traieste insa cu Marrast dar nu sunt prea fericiti, Celia fuge de acasa si se combina in final cu Austin dupa ce locuieste la Helene si au si o experienta usor lesbiana (Austin apartine unui grup de nevrotici anonimi), Juan si Tell in Viena sunt pusi pe ghidusii cu o femeie in varsta intr-un hotel vechi. Apoi mai sunt figurile pitoresti ale "tatarilor" argentinieni Calac si Polanco, apoi parazeul meu (este un personaj de sine statator se pare), apoi Feuille Morte (care nu zice decat Bisbis Bisbis si ne-o putem inchipui cum vrem - eu mi-am inchipuit-o a fi o batranica usor cocosata). Si mai e si un melc pe acolo...ah si mai este si fata lui Boniface Perteuil (care e grasa, este invatatoare la ciclul primar si se combina cu Polanco, alte informatii nu mai tin minte).
Viata se desfasoara in hoteluri, trenuri si chiar si pe un vapor. In Viena, Londra, Paris. Boemie.

Trebuie sa fii ingrozitor de atent cand citesti cartea asta, altfel ajungi sa fi citit 4 randuri si sa nu ai habar ce ai citit. Si cand esti atent remarci ca acea fraza care parea initial fara sens ajunge totusi sa aiba unul. Este o carte experimentala extrem de grea pentru ca solicita la maxim cititorul. Dar e sud-american asa ca il lasam sa isi faca mendrele cu noi. Este o carte care poate duce la disperare si la aruncarea cartii cat colo "ce e tampenia asta". De aceea cred ca este necesara o anumita stare de spirit inainte de a porni la cucerirea ei.

O voi reciti ! Ceea ce va doresc si voua.
Profile Image for Paula Vergara .
477 reviews26 followers
June 1, 2020
Me encanta Cortázar. Esta novela que la escribe posterior a Rayuela, es un intento nuevamente de romper las convenciones de la novela y nos arroja a una serie de textos sin capítulos donde unos personajes que no se nos presentan, van tomando la palabra. Las primeras 40 páginas uno no se entera de mucho, pero en algún momento nuestro cerebro logra armar la estructura y entender que se nos narra. En mi caso fue como al 14% en medio de la historia del cuadro y los neuróticos anónimos que me hizo reír a carcajadas. Desde ahí la historia cobra sentido y todo fluye hasta el final. Bueno, yo les dije que soy fanática de Cortázar.
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