Hopscotch: A Novel by Julio Cortázar

By Julio Cortázar

Translated via Gregory Rabassa, winner of the nationwide ebook Award for Translation, 1967

Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian author who lives in Paris along with his mistress, l. a. Maga, surrounded by means of a loose-knit circle of bohemian pals who name themselves "the Club." A child's loss of life and los angeles Maga's disappearance positioned an finish to his lifetime of empty pleasures and highbrow acrobatics, and advised Oliveira to come back to Buenos Aires, the place he works by way of turns as a salesperson, a keeper of a circus cat which could really count number, and an attendant in an insane asylum. Hopscotch is the staggering, freewheeling account of Oliveira's incredible adventures.

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At the same time, Stein loved detective stories. After her marathon reading of all the nineteenth-century fiction she could get her hands on, she seems to have lost interest in the literary novel. Dashiell Hammett became a favorite in later years, but the author she most enjoyed and probably set out to emulate in her post-Alice B. Toklas attempt at a detective novel (Blood on the Dining Room Floor) was Edgar Wallace. Born in England and popular in the 1920s and 1930s, Wallace wrote dozens of crime novels in unencumbered prose, with 3 2 \ I N T R O D U C T I O N titles like Terrible People, Big Foot, The Twister, The Avenger, and Room 13.

37 The extent to which she was still attempting to apply her characterological templates had the effect of removing her from others even as she was trying to understand the workings of personal relationships. Her much-quoted statement “I am writing for myself and strangers” has been construed as reflecting disdain for her audience, but I read it as the opposite, an expression of the pain she felt in alienating those close to her with work that required her to analyze them in terms of broad patterns of human I N T R O D U C T I O N / 2 7 psychology.

To be. Once. We to be. To be we to be. We to be. To be we to be. We to be. Once. To be to be to be. We to be. We to be. To be. Once. 47 There are so many barely seen (because they never stand alone) but easily heard statements of longing—“to be we” or “to be once we” or “once to be we”—the “we” that exists in full visibility only in unions sanctioned by patriarchy? I don’t see an adequate way to enjoy or understand what can be made of this work apart from performing it. ) To skim its visual patterns, as so many readers must do, is to invite defeat by language that neither behaves like proper sentences or lines, nor discloses a cumulative semantic logic.

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