karen's Reviews > Hopscotch

Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Apr 08, 2007

it was ok
bookshelves: books-everyone-loves-but-me, littry-fiction, distant-lands

8 years after i read this book, i finally understand why i didn't like it.

apparently, this is an "either/or book", but i read it as an "and then" book.

dr. wikipedia claims:

An author's note suggests that the book would best be read in one of two possible ways, either progressively from chapters 1 to 56 or by "hopscotching" through the entire set of 155 chapters according to a "Table of Instructions" designated by the author. Cortázar also leaves the reader the option of choosing a unique path through the narrative.


because i read the whole 600 page book front-to-back the way one does, AND THEN i went back and hopscotched through it, thinking that there would be some secret doorway that opened or something that would illuminate why i was doing this second pass. but there's no doorway - spoiler alert. and i resented that i seemed to be reading the whole fucking book again for no fucking reason, and i was so baffled about why people seemed to value this book so much when, to me, it just seemed like an elaborate nose-thumbing time wasting prank. and i assumed that people liked it because they were trying to be all douchey-elitist and pretending to like something just because it was difficult or challenging or whatever, and they cherished their shiny gold star for enduring the tedium of repetition. but it's not difficult. it's a playful and lyrical schtick if you only have to read it through once, whichever way you choose. but reading it twice, back-to-back, just with the scenes all shuffled in a different order is not something i recommend because it will just be infuriating and you will howl: "dude, i KNOW!!!! WE JUST COVERED THIS!!!! WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME THE SAME SHIT ALL OVER AGAIN, FORGETFUL GRANDPA????"

and afterward, all you will remember is the howling, and not the reading. so there - that's my explanation/discovery/psa

63 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Hopscotch.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent There are books that require instructions to read?

karen bossy books

message 3: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent Does it also come with a dress code and a list of allowed reading-time snacks?

karen yeah, it's very strict. none of this gum-chewing, cell phone texting allowed or you get sent to detention. where you have to read this book over and over.

message 5: by Paquita Maria (new)

Paquita Maria Sanchez You read a book you hated twice? You really are insane.

Shan gave me one of this guy's books a couple of years back, but I haven't read it yet. Half the length, no instructions. (Twss?)

message 6: by jo (new) - added it

jo It seems so.

message 7: by G. (new)

G. Brown I really did give this one a shot. When I got to the part explaining about the development of nail clippers... I started to think that maybe the novelty was not worth it.

karen imagine if you had read that scene twice!

pms - my inability to quit books is a huge character flaw

message 9: by Brandon (new) - added it

Brandon Cortazar is famous for his playing with reality. That's what makes him so fun, if a bit tedious. (Please don't hate me . . .) Instead of reading Rayuela (Spanish name), we read Cien anos de soledad in a class of mine at college. We read some of his short stories instead, like La noche boca arriba and Axolotl. In my opinion, his short stories are where his true genius is.

karen Noah Grosberg wrote: "karen eat your disgusting vigina"

spelling is hard!

karen Brandon wrote: "Cortazar is famous for his playing with reality. That's what makes him so fun, if a bit tedious. (Please don't hate me . . .) Instead of reading Rayuela (Spanish name), we read Cien anos de sole..."

no, i don't hate you for having an opinion!! that would be crazy! i just disliked having to read the same shit twice, even though, as it happens, i did not actually need to read it twice. grrrr. he's probably more enjoyable reading just the one time.

message 12: by Paquita Maria (new)

Paquita Maria Sanchez Don't mind him, he won't last. When he's not demanding physically impossible tasks (beyond the fact that such body parts don't exist within the bounds of the English language), he's trolling Otis Chandler.


karen shit, and i was trying really hard to make my "vigina" disgusting. i have been cramming olives and black jellybeans up there in preparation for the past 6 minutes

message 14: by Paquita Maria (new)

Paquita Maria Sanchez Black olives? Because those are the worst. For your vigina, and otherwise.

karen allll olives are disgusting. and now they are polluting my vigina for nothing! thanks a lot, noah grosberg! you ruined my buzz!

message 16: by Paquita Maria (new)

Paquita Maria Sanchez We are in agreement. Stupid salty tires, the lot of 'em.

message 17: by G. (new)

G. Brown I disagree with your assessment of black jellybeans. However, if they were to be found in the vig', I don't know that this could be considered a pleasant surprise. If you read Hopscotch with the Bible code in mind, it's clearly a message about methods of preparing the disgusting vigina.

karen i have one of the most accommodating palates in the world, and it cannot abide licorice or olives. everything else it is cool with. i couldn't think of anything else that would make this beautiful temple of mine "disgusting."

message 19: by Erica (new)

Erica karen wrote: spelling is hard!"

Well, yeah, it is when you're nine and you have no friends.

Also, I suspect you are going to need cream for your vigina. I think that's a Spanish G, in this case, so you pronounce it "vee HEE nah". You will need some vee HEE nah creeem soon.

message 20: by Erica (new)

Erica By the way, where's Julio?
This seems like his kind of conversation.


karen i think he is noah.

message 22: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant the phrase of the year... KEYDV!!

message 23: by Rodney (new)

Rodney Thanks to all for the most amusing thread I have seen in a long time.

karen no one ever wants to have discussions about the books with me, they just want to boss me around LIKE THIS BOOK DID and make me feel bad for not naturally having a disgusting vigina. or a vigina at all.

message 25: by Paquita Maria (new)

Paquita Maria Sanchez This 9-year-old is seriously offended by your lack of appreciation for Cortazar's prose.

karen it wasn't even the prose - it was my own misunderstanding!! i just didn't like the immediate rerun!

Duffy Pratt It took you eight years to figure this out? I hope you were busy in the meantime.

karen well, i wasn't actively pursuing the question. i read this book, got frustrated, and went on with my life. and then, just out of the blue, i learned THE TRUTH

message 29: by Shorty (new)

Shorty That awkward moment when you really love black olives....

karen you can have ALLLLLLL of them.

message 31: by Shorty (new)

Shorty WOO-HOOOOO..!!! :D)))

message 32: by Deary (new)

Deary Darling If K can E her own DV i'm truly impressed she gets as much reading in as she does!

message 33: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant and a new day begins with a vision of K and her DV... thanks Deary

karen my day is only starting now!! must be weary from e-ing all that dv.

message 35: by Deary (new)

Deary Darling i think K's DV has given birth to a kind of smutty algebra

message 36: by Naomi (new) - added it

Naomi Thanks for the heads up! I've put this book on hold for now by how much it's dragging. I don't think I'll bother following the author's instructions somehow!

message 37: by Mike (new)

Mike Given the revelations of Wikipedia and Noah, would you tell someone to:

a) read the book, but only once per decade (in any fashion they want),

b) never read the book, read only other synopses, or this extended discussion of it,

c) forget the book and always be sure to check for black olives or jelly beans when contemplating "vee Hee Nahs"

d) forget everything about the book, Julio masquerading as Noah, and just cultivate our gardens, or,

e) none of the above. (The exercise is left to the interested reader.)


karen i would recommend reading the book, but doing so with all the facts! facts are great!

message 39: by Mike (new)

Mike More musical referents:

Facts are simple and facts are straight.
Facts are lazy and facts are late.
Facts all come with a point of view.

message 40: by Paco (new) - rated it 5 stars

Paco Glz Hi, I feel like I'm in the middle of a discussion between friends but I can't stop thinking about what you wrote cause this is one of my fav books. The physical copy of this book have a page where the autor's note is, I'm intrigued why yours not.

karen i have a very old copy, and i remember there being something instructional/rulesy but either 1) it was unclear and confusing or 2) i am an idiot who doesn't know how to understand directions. they are equally likely scenarios. but in any case, i read this wrong, and i feel silly about it.

back to top