Nathaniel Gallegos's Reviews > Blow-Up and Other Stories

Blow-Up and Other Stories by Julio Cortázar
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's review
Jan 21, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: currently-reading, began-but-never-finished

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 seems to be some kind of theme developing in the particular psychological reactions the characters have towards things, creatures, people etc. that exist in their world. A kind of projection of the personality. However in the two examples I am thinking of (Axolotl, Distances) this psychological projection could conceivably be seen to take on some kind of occult value, and in that these stories are reminiscent, to me anyway, of some kind of folk story dealing with mysterious creatures and figures possessive of malevolent powers and strange abilities to influence and control human life.

I find it an intriguing book in many of its premises and I think the way the work is executed is well done, and to some degree even unique, but again there is that barrier here for me where I find myself sort of regarding with a detached amusement and intellectual curiosity the motives of the characters and the driving forces of the story rather than identifying with them as such.

It may be worth noting that this is my second approach to Cortazar, whom came highly recommended to me by a friend with exquisite taste in all things literary, after an aborted attempt to read what is apparently regarded as his masterpiece, Hopscotch.

If you are new to this man's unique and rather oddball work, and you enjoy a dreamy, detached surrealism and stories with a kind of pleasant exterior but possessing a subtly sinister and dark undercurrent moving beneath them, then this might be for you.

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