Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Blow-Up and Other Stories” as Want to Read:
Blow-Up and Other Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Blow-Up and Other Stories

4.24  ·  Rating Details ·  6,788 Ratings  ·  278 Reviews
A young girl spends her summer vacation in a country house where a tiger roams . . . A man reading a mystery finds out too late that he is the murderer's victim . . . In the fifteen stories collected here—including "Blow-Up," which was the basis for Michelangelo Antonioni's film of the same name—Julio Cortazar explores the boundary where the everyday meets the mysterious, ...more
Paperback, 277 pages
Published February 12th 1985 by Pantheon (first published January 1st 1959)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Blow-Up and Other Stories, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Blow-Up and Other Stories

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
Favorite Magical Realism Novels
81st out of 891 books — 4,110 voters
Nine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeA Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'ConnorDubliners by James JoyceThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Collections of Short Stories
68th out of 2,164 books — 1,630 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Glenn Russell
May 29, 2016 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing

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
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
Aug 14, 2012 Kris rated it it was amazing
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
Parthiban Sekar
"I prefer the words to the reality that I'm trying to describe.",

says Cortázar. Through his exquisitely beautiful sentences what he offers is more than reality. The question of magical realism as his style is debatable. But what his stories overwhelm with is eccentricity. Most of his stories can be easily classified as 'uncanny', because of his way of encompassing his characters in a surreal mystery, of which they think as reality.

Time and Identity evidently seem to be the play things for Cortáz
Dec 26, 2014 Algernon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014

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
Jun 28, 2016 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here are stories of the prismatic-elastic-imaginative-labyrinthine type. Okay, Cortazar isn’t for everyone - his sentences stubbornly don’t do what you expect them to do, and those readers resistant to the particular magic of language, that it can simultaneously be music and meaning, archaic and capable of instigating a profoundly new perspective, bewildering and grounding, need not proceed. Those of you who have already closed avenues of readerly-possibility off, need not proceed. Those of you ...more
Nate D
Nov 07, 2014 Nate D rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 19, 2016 Maria rated it liked it
Shelves: south-america
I had the same problem with this book that I've had with most of the short story collections I've read the last few years. I really liked the first stories, but then it only went downhill. I'm almost starting to suspect that this is a conscious strategy - putting the best works first, and then just filling up the rest.

I bought this book solely because of the story "Continuity of Parks", the only thing I had previously read by Cortazar. In only two pages it can be said to contain everything a wh
Jul 19, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 25, 2016 Curtainthief rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-tome-tower
Well, shit. Now I have to change my opinion of Cortazar. These stories, at least toward the beginning of this collection are in a vein quite separate from that of Hopscotch, a book I loathed. And as much perverse pleasure as I've gotten out of poo-pooing that novel, I know now that at some point I'm going to have to give it a second chance. This was just too good.
I'm fairly sure that in every picture I've seen of Borges, he's wearing a suit. Imagine that old gentlemen instead in flip-flops and a
Jan 21, 2009 Andrew rated it really liked it
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-
Jul 05, 2009 David rated it really liked it
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
Sep 22, 2016 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: g-contos, n-belgica, e4
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
Jack Tripper

Cover of the 1968 Collier Books mass-market paperback (248 pages).
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
Jul 17, 2016 Joshua added it
There is barely a weak spot in this entire collection. As the stories progress, the fantastic Borgesian elements fade leaving us clasping Ariadne's thread amidst the no less bewildering labyrinth of "reality." (Always in quotations) If Cortazar wants your head to spin, it will spin. He is a master of distraction, disorientation and perspective - expertly packaging the precepts of the Nouveau Roman in the short story format. I actually wish I had read these stories before skipping and jumping thr ...more
May 05, 2014 Christy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2009
I'm leaving Goodreads. This review is now available on LibraryThing, user name CSRodgers.
Mariel Zani Begoña
(Spanish only sorry)

Como siempre Cortázar extrae la belleza de las situaciones más cotidianas. Muchas de ellas las convierte luego en un absurdo exquisito. Les dejo este pasaje para que disfruten un poquito y se animen a leer quien, en mi humilde opinión, es el escritor más excepcional de todos los tiempos

"Ahora voy a pensar en ti, querida, solamente en ti toda la noche. Voy a pensar solamente en ti, es la única manera de sentirme a mí mismo, tenerte en el centro de mí mismo como un árbol, despr
Jun 14, 2012 Drew rated it liked it
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
Quinn Slobodian
Oct 15, 2007 Quinn Slobodian rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 02, 2013 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La punta da cui cominciare Una volta cominciato a raccontare, se fosse possibile andare a prendere una birra da qualche parte e che la macchina andasse avanti da sola (perché scrivo a macchina), sarebbe la perfezione. E non è un modo di dire. La perfezione, sì, perché qui il buco che si deve raccontare è anch'esso una macchina (una Contax I.I.2), e potrebbe anche darsi che una macchina ne sappia a proposito di un'altra macchina più di me, di te, di lei - la donna bionda - e delle nuvole. Ma dell ...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.
Dec 01, 2015 Fernando rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Uno de los libros que más quiero de Cortázar. Si bien, este libro tiene el famoso homenaje a Charlie Parker en "El Perseguidor" (dónde podemos encontrar diálogos y situaciones que usará en "Rayuela"), mi preferido es "Las babas del diablo" con susuperposición de planos y realidades.
Feb 24, 2016 Francisco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hace tiempo no leía cuentos de Cortazar (aparte de las Cartas de mamá que pude leer hace poco en una edición aparte). Es el gran cuentista latinoamericano al lado de Borges.
Me gustaron todos los cuentos pero no es un autor fácil de leer y no sé si me leería (o releería pero que ya no recuerdo ) Rayuela luego de ver por ejemplo cómo escribió el cuento "Las armas secretas" que es muy engañoso, al principio sentí la terrible tentación de no leerlo porque no enganchaba con la historia y luego se em
Jun 27, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it

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
Nov 24, 2012 orsodimondo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: racconti, argentina
Ricordo che quando ero piccolo, la sera mio padre mi leggeva una storia, o forse se la inventava, perché io non sapevo ancora leggere e non potevo controllare le parole.
Ma i disegni sì, e quelli partecipavano alla storia di mio padre. Di che parlavano quelle storie? Questo non lo ricordo più. Ma ricordo che mi piacevano.

Come mi è piaciuto molto presto andare al cinema: anche lì storia e disegni animati, poi i disegni sono diventati immagini in movimento.
Al buio ero solo
Rebekka Istrail
Jun 14, 2010 Rebekka Istrail rated it really liked it
I grew tired of certain mystical themes (i.e., life repeats itself, and two individuals can be telepathically connected and can trade places). Also, certain stories I'm sure I didn't fully understand (e.g., "At Your Service").

My favorite stories in this collection were "End of the Game" and "Bestiary." I also found the following ones engaging: "House Taken Over," "Letter to a Young Lady in Paris," "The Idol of the Cyclades," "The Night Face Up," and "Axolotl."

Sean Carman
May 24, 2013 Sean Carman rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 24, 2007 Vicky rated it did not like it
I cannot for the life of me get through this.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Last Evenings on Earth
  • Brodie's Report
  • An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter
  • The Obscene Bird of Night
  • The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel)
  • Pricksongs and Descants
  • Flying to America: 45 More Stories
  • Lands of Memory
  • The Absent City
  • A Russian Doll & Other Stories
  • El siglo de las luces
  • I, the Supreme
  • The Collected Writings Of Ambrose Bierce
  • Selected Stories
  • El juguete rabioso
  • Black Water: The Book of Fantastic Literature
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...

Share This Book

“Now I am an axolotl.” 36 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.” 22 likes
More quotes…