Amy's Reviews > Hopscotch

Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar
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Sep 28, 08

bookshelves: latin-america
Read in September, 2008

Hopscotch is a book famous for its structure. There are two main ways to read the book. One is to read chapters 1 - 56 straight through in order. The other main way is to read each chapter and then go to the chapter number listed at the end of the selection and basically jumping around. I recommend reading the book the "hopscotch" or second way, as you still end up reading chapters 1 - 56 in the same order, just with a variety of asides that could be anything from quotations from other books to background and filler information about the plot and characters.

The first part of the story revolves around the two main characters of Horacio and La Maga. The two are lovers and attend meetings with a group of intellectuals in Paris. The group discusses heady topics concerning the nature of reality, art, philosophy, literature, jazz music, etc. and spends a lot of time drinking alcohol or tea and smoking cigarettes. Horacio is very well-read in literature and philosophy, but La Maga constantly needs other people to explain concepts to her. I found this dynamic to be somewhat annoying and pretentious; that the Horacio functions on an intellectual level, while La Maga "feels"...and basically serves as his muse. However, as the story progresses, some events take a downward turn, and the tone of the story becomes much different.

In the second main part, Horacio has left Paris to return to South America and hangs out with his best friend, Traveler, and his best friend's wife, Talita. At this point La Maga has become some sort of icon in Horacio's mind and he keeps finding similarities between Talita and La Maga. The heady conversations continue and Horacio becomes very obsessed with memories and dreams and seems to be searching for something.

The ending is a bit fuzzy and the book itself actually ends in an endless chapter loop. There are some pretty memorable episodes in this book and the gimmick actually works quite well in this instance.
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