Rayuela (Hopscotch) by Julio Cortazar (1963, Pantheon; 578 pages)
Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves "the Club." A child's death and La Maga's disappearance put an end to his life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics, and prompt Oliveira to return to Buenos Aires, where he works by turns as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat which can truly count, and an attendant in an insane asylum.
I remember the evening I found this book in the Literature section of my college library. I went home, started reading, and didn't stop until dawn. It was one of the most exciting and fabulous reading experiences of my life. Rayuela, or Hopscotch in English, a novel by Argentinian writer Julio Cortazar, is a stream-of-consciousness novel, and it can be read according to two different sequences of chapters. Cortazar wrote the book in Paris and the first chapter sequence takes you to that city. The author referred to this novel as a counter-novel. He used a punning interior monologue and he also uses different languages. It is clearly written under the influence of the aesthetics of jazz (a music that Cortazar loved) and the New Wave Cinema. The characters in Rayuela are absolute jewels. You will never forget La Maga or Horacio Oliveira, a bohemian, in the first sequences, or Talita and Traveler in Book 2, which takes the reader to Argentina. This book is reminiscent of the writing of James Joyce. It is a piece of literature that is fundamental to anyone who wants to call themselves well-read.
Find this title in our catalog: Hopscotch (Rayuela)
Recommended by: Maite