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Blow-up e outras histórias

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  4,061 ratings  ·  174 reviews
“Blow-up e Outras histórias, título português do original Las Armas Secretas, de Julio Cortázar, o famoso autor argentino que inspirou ao cineasta Antonioni o argumento do belo e discutido filme Blow-up, é um livro simultaneamente ousado e clássico, estranhamente moderno e sereno, uma experiência rara na literatura dos nossos dias, onde o nome de Cortázar ombreia com os de ...more
Mass Market Paperback, Livros de Bolso, #394, 176 pages
Published by Publicações Europa-América (first published January 1st 1959)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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The author has made Axolotls alive like beings who are conscious of their existence; as if they can steer their lives at their 'will'.

As if they can define it, which only a conscious being can do.

"They were lying in wait of something, a remote dominion destroyed, an age of liberty when the world had been that of axolotls."

The central theme of the story is existential angst about no inherent meaning of life and still existing authentically by defining your life and then taking responsibility to l
Glenn Russell

Oh, Julio, if I could just have a moment to talk to you. You are up here in your heavenly jazz tree, on a higher branch then where I am sitting, laughing at the sadness of the world stuck in its own grass and mortar rather than taking a ride in the whirlwind of imagination, reading Blow-Up, Axolotl, House Taken Over, Continuity of Parks, End of the Game and other stories in this little book of yours. You play the divine trumpet, buzzing your lips on the horn of plenty, the jazz of words, improvi
This volume is my introduction to Cortázar, part of my 2012 Year of Discovering Latin American and Spanish writers. I have his novels on my horizon, and I'm itching to read them, but I thought starting with a short story volume would be a good introduction.

In the past, I have neglected short stories, in part because of an early preference for huge novels that I could escape in for days at a time. There may have been some elements of an introvert's frustration over getting to know a series of ch

Now I am an axolotl!


After spending some quality time in the company of Julio Cortazar and his choice short prose, I believe I can more easily identify with the weirdness, wonder and mystery of existence, as seen though the ‘lens’ of his imagination. I may not be sure which side of the glass wall I am standing right now and what exactly I am looking at, but I recognize that reality/ realism is not providing all the answers I need, and that sometimes we need a tiger roaming around the house for
Nate D
Nov 07, 2014 Nate D rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: axolotls, or anything else on the other side of the glass
Recommended to Nate D by: Antonioni and everyone else, correctly.
I've been starting a lot of story collections lately without (yet) finishing them, and this is another of those. I was reading it aloud, which is interesting and a little tricky, because the words here perform very strange and nuanced tricks of tone and configuration, resulting in elegant sentences that don't always make immediate sense. At least not until they've fully left the mouth, which can make it a challenge to anticipate the cadences and stresses as they emerge.

Published in 1968, but act
There was a time when I thought a great deal about the story "Axolotl". When I envied those rhythms, their faint movements, those sentences in particular, intimate, slightly illogical, thought-like vectors achieving a rolling quality that is not like a sentence at all. Yes, above all I envied Cortazar's sentences, which are unique in their grammatical messiness, their organic connections, the imperceptible consequences of unfolding. Those days I read "Axolotl" obsessively, drunk on the sound of ...more
Cortazar's craft as a short story writer is staggering. Even when I wasn't completely engaged by the characters and situations, it was hard not to be blown away by his sinuous, rhythmic way of turning sentences. Like Borges, he operates in a territory where time and memory bleed in and out of each other, where reality flirts with the surreal, the magical and the menacing but is still grounded by the concrete, charmed details of everyday existence. I can't think of many things as utterly mesmeriz ...more
Cinco histórias reveladoras da genialidade de Cortázar. Não gostei de todas da mesma forma, nem as compreendi no seu todo. Exigem muito do leitor pela sua estrutura complexa, significados ocultos e finais abertos.

é o título do filme de Antonioni, inspirado no conto Las Babas del Diablo.
Mais do que pela história subjacente - um fotógrafo que observa e fotografa três pessoas e que constrói o acontecimento através da análise da foto - o conto é fascinante pela originalidade do narrador, qu
The first story of Cortazar's that I ever read was "La Noche Boca Arriba", roughly translatable as "The Night Turned Upside Down". It creeped me out then, and it still creeps me out. As in many of Cortazar's stories, it revolves around the idea that the protagonist simultaneously inhabits two parallel realities, that beyond the "normal events" being described lies a far more terrible world ready to engulf the protagonist (for instance, the obsidian knife of the Aztec executioner-priest).

Or ther
gretta treuscorff
oxolotl is my favorite story. i read it when i used to live in front of my fishtank and memorize the patterns they would swim in. this story came out of my fishtank, back in history, onto the written page and into my hands... then it made me surreal insane and sublime... i fell in love with this man for finding and showing me a place i so desperately needed to be.
While reading this book, I turned into the book, but remained myself looking at the book looking at me. Then I threw up a bunny who, it turns out, is creeping up behind me as I write these wor-
Full of lines that were interesting in part because they were confusing, e.g. "Somebody told me that the marquesa had given Lan money too, without Lan knowing where it had come from. Which didn't surprise me at all, because the marquesa was absurdly generous and understood the world, a little like those omelets she makes at her studio when the boys begin to arrive in droves, and which begins to take on the aspect of a kind of permanent omelet that you throw different things into and you go on cu ...more
Cortazar isn't easy to read but he's worth the effort. In this collection of short stories several stand out in my mind - Axolotl, House Taken Over, Bestiary, Blow-Up, End of the Game and The Pursuer.

I was particularly surprised to find out that Cortazar was very knowledgeable about jazz. The Pursuer is a 65 page short story about a jazz musician named Johnny Carter. It soon becomes apparent that Cortazar is writing about jazz great Charlie Parker. Many of the principle characters are easily ide
I'm leaving Goodreads. This review is now available on LibraryThing, user name CSRodgers.
Quinn Slobodian
A while ago Molly was going to lend this book to me. Then she changed her mind and kept it. I had to wait until she left for Spain to read it. I thought this was strange at the time, a bit selfish, out-of-character, but I understand now. Looking at it lying on my bed after I finished it just now, I thought, that's it? Now I just slip it back into the row of other books? Make do with the memory and not the material of it? No. I want it out a little longer. It's like a talisman somehow. I want it ...more
Reading Cortázar, it's like having a tiger in the room. A cute tiger, stripes and all. You wouldn't know, though, when it's going to pounce. But you know it's going to make a mean move, snack on you maybe, drink your blood, like a poet drinking metaphors, satiated beyond satiety. Like a reader drinking the prose of Cortázar. They are perfect prose pieces, unexpected like tigers. He is one of those prose stylists whose sentences you read for their music and poetry, without caring for the cohesive ...more
Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion
I am not the axolotl of a one trick Porteñan pony with half a tail in Paris. I am just a burro on a windy, rainy street, but I am not behind the glass or a disconnected mirror. There is a nineteenth century streetlamp next to me and it illuminates gold wisps of dust that disappear down the alleyway, unable to find your lace in its gardens or the childish ingenuity running your circles.
Sean Carman
These stories are fantastic. "The Idol of Cyclades," "House Takes Over" and "End of the Game" seems as good as fantastical short stories can possibly get, and of course "Blow-Up" is also amazing.

Recently I was reading about a group of Soviet dissidents who were arrested in Ukraine in the 60s. They were then sent to forced labor camps, where they were starved and tortured; some of them committed suicide. I’ve read plenty of similar accounts. But having also recently read Cortazar’s ‘The Night Face Up’, I thought for a few minutes, from the comfort of a chair in Barnes and Noble, about what it might be like to live for, say, three decades, a life of relative comfort, with mostly an abstra
Julio Cortazar best works are his short stories. In the collection, Blow up and other stories, the stories range from a child’s fascination with ajolotes to the conflicted relationship of Pierre and Michele in post-world war 2 France. Mostly considered to be the father or the epicenter of Latin Literally boom, Cortazar’s is one writer that deserves to be on the short list of great Latin American writers.

One particular story, Blow Up, is a metalinguistic narrative tale of a photographer taking a
Colin N.
"Blow-up" is a collection of quite bizarre surreal short stories. Most of these tales involve identity in some way - transformation from one identity to another, strange connections between individuals that blur the distinctions between identities, the destruction of identity and self through interactions with others. The stories are often violent, there is death and horror everywhere. Cortazar creates an often nightmarish landscape where things are not as they seem and the otherworldly appears ...more
This collection was just the thing to take my mind off the horrid stress in my life. My sister says it works that if you start rereading them after you are finished it is like reading new stories. I needed to take my mind off the ugliness of life therefore, the possibilities of living and breathing stories was welcoming.
Some of the stories I have a firmer ground of certainty that I knew what happened while other stories in this collection are a fog over my mind. I realize some of the stories I
The stories in this marvelous collection are divided into three numbered sections and were drawn from three different anthologies first published in Spanish. The first stories, section one and the beginning of section two, are magnificently surreal—a man watches axolotls (a Mexican salamander) at the aquarium with an intensity that results in the man becoming the axolotl who is watching a man at the zoo; three archaeologists steal an idol from a Greek excavation site and first one, then another ...more
Nathaniel Gallegos
I enjoy it so far though I have to admit I am having trouble connecting with his particular brand of dreamy surrealism. I enjoy that the, for lack of a better word, surrealism is lackadaisical, dreamy and almost lazy, that it haunts the stories rather than animates them, but for some reason I am having trouble making any kind of emotional connection with the characters though I do find their mania, if it may be conceived of as such, intriguing. Just going by the first couple of stories there see ...more
"I thought of something odd. I arrived in the terrible city and it was afternoon, a green watery afternoon as afternoons never are if one does not help out by thinking of them." -22

"I remember that I stopped to look at the river which was like spoiled mayonnaise thrashing against the abutments, furiously as possible, noisy and lashing." -24

"But I'm not writing you for that reason, I was sending this letter to you because of the rabbits, its seems only fair to let you know; and because I like to
Nick Anderson
A man drinks himself to death because he became the first mortal by killing his doppelgänger, ending his lineage. A woman dreams of a Hungarian peasants life at night, goes on her honeymoon there and the Hungarian takes her life away after they meet. Vivid dreams of an Aztec sacrifice after a motorcycle accident become true. A mans greatest shame is that he coughs up rabbits.

Just a sample of what to expect from this volume. Every story is just as strange as the last. It is fantasy in the greates
After first reading "Hopscotch," I devoured several of Cortazar's books in college, during a very long, hot, idle summer in Albuquerque. Other favorite experiences that summer included driving "Marlene," the black 1963 Volvo coupe I'd built from the ground-up (9 months), out to the volcano basin on the west side of town, past the Rio Grande, to watch the sun set, listening to things like Miles Davis's "Sketches of Spain" and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

Cortazar is a master of altered atmosphere and o
Shivaji Das
Cortazar's writing is like a slow river that has small surprises hidden at every corner. The stories have layers and layers and layers, often talking about the slow surrender of an individual against slowly encroaching oppressiveness of reality, often crashing into a sudden submission. A love letter turns into a suicide note and a wanderer transforms into an axolotl. It is easy to lose Cortazar at many points but I could also get back on the same bus with him. And I wish Cortazar was still alive ...more
Aravind Vivekanandan
It was Antonioni's film 'Blow Up' that led me to this book. After reading it, I feel there are stories in this collection that are better than blow up, 'End of the Game' , 'House taken over' being my favourites. Cortazar's writing works like a Jigsaw puzzle. He throws us into the middle of the action directly without any introductions. Then he shows us certain parts of the puzzle. But it is only when he puts in the last piece, we are astonished by the brilliance of his writing. Often absurd and ...more
Lukasz Pruski
Another overlong review, which again highlights my lack of writing skills. I apologize.

A simple-minded definition of surrealism in art would emphasize the blending of reality with alternative realities, or with obvious non-realities, in such ways that the boundaries disappear between what is real and what cannot be real. Under such simplistic definition, most stories from Julio Cortazar's "Blow-Up and Other Stories" are surrealistic. In "Letter to a Young Lady in Paris", amidst the grim reality
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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.
More about Julio Cortázar...
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“Now I am an axolotl.” 34 likes
“Once in a while it happens that I vomit up a bunny... it's not reason for one to blush and isolate oneself and to walk around keeping one's mouth shut.” 18 likes
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