the way Cortazar plays with words is never ending!oriana
I read this sl-o-o-o-o-o-o-w, partially to savor it, but partially because reading Cortàzar can be so fucking hard. Since this is actually two short story collections put together, it's a really mixed bag. But it's very Cortàzar, by which I mean very extreme: the beautiful stories make you ache, the obtuse / didactic ones are nearly unreadable (by someone who's not a super-genius), the creepy / surreal ones are supremely chilling, the sad ones are devastating. So this is a decent collection to start with if you've never read him before—it's seriously all over the place, so you can get a sense of his immense range. But if you're looking for just the amazing, with less of the weird and trudge-y, I say go with one of the novels.Stas
I read the first story, "Orientation of Cats", right after reading three early stories by Brian Aldiss. Aldiss constructs enchantments which make you feel trapped in their world, an effect achieved by abruptness of their endings. Cortazar's effect, at least in this first story is rather to drag you through something, or to wash through you, so that you re-emerge from the experience as with a halo, an after-image, but you do emerge. The curious thing is that Cortazar is more fabulistic, more precise, less psychologizing then Aldiss. Is that the line which separates 'speculative fiction' from 'literature'?Pamela
I love this collection, which is somewhat uneven, but splattered with extraordinary works such as "Orientation of Cats," and "A Change of Light." I came across this collection on the bargain table at Brentano's bookstore when I was 14. I had no idea what I was forming in myself, a love of surrealism and the movements of the South American, mid-century geniuses.Hannah
It sticks with you.Jim
Reading Cortazar is like walking through an eclectic art museum, perusing the various paintings, each revealing a moment in time captured in oil, often eye-catching and inspiring, but not always, revealing only some of the story the rest of which you have to glean from the image, the narrative missing or hidden immediately to the eye unless one knows the backstory or the allusions presented, occasionally intellectual but often heartfelt, each stroke another layer. . .well, you get the picture. Some of the stories were very interesting, and a couple I really liked. I prefer a little more narrative in my stories though.