on 6 August 2003
I brought this book having read 'Hopscotch', 'Blow-up and Other Short Stories' and 'All Fires The Fire'. The truth was, I had become adicted to Cortazar and his unique style - what I can only describe as a wonderful contradiction of melancholy and humour. I believe 62: a Model Kit, has the same magical ingrediants that make Hopscotch so special. The dialogues, soul searching and games the characters play with each other create a completely original world between Paris, London and Vienna, complete with an Argentinian perspective. I find Cortazar expands the world as we know it by breaking routines and rules and creating new worlds without borders that effortlessly and refreshingly join the world as we know it. I fully recommend this book.
on 28 November 2006
I have to admit to being a Cortazar fan, and he definitely won't appeal to everyone. Cortazar is not bothered about plot and characterisation as time/place-bound contstructs that enable you to follow a story from beginning to end. Time, personality and events are fragmented through shifting 3rd/1st person point of view, flashback, forward projection and all manner of other devices which make the characters and events he writes about inherently unstable - you never quite know who is speaking, where they are, which bit of the plot is being narrated.
It's an anti-novel. What holds it together is Cortazar's magnificent prose. Even in this English translation (Rabassa - superb), what might otherwise be pretentious and dull is sheer pleasure because of Cortazar's superb linguistic ability. This is what his novels are all about - the traditional staples of the novel (character and plot) are subverted and fragmented in favour of beauty, wit, puzzles and the sheer pleasure of Cortazar's linguistic pyrotechnics.
If you want things to happen, then don't read Cortazar (go for Stephen King, or maybe Charles Dickens). But if you want writing stripped of any pretence at realism in character or events, and reduced to pure prose, then Cortazar is your man.
on 18 December 2013
When this novel starts you are left scratching your head as you are very much in at the deep end and nothing makes sense. But with an open mind and a small amount of perseverance, all becomes (more or less) clear, and in fact, this book is actually a lot of fun. It is far more accessible than Rayuela, which is full of references to works of literature and art that many readers may not be aware of. You don't need any of that background to enjoy this one, and when you finish it you feel that there wasn't anything you didn't understand.
Cortazar the man obviously had a great sense of fun - in Rayuela there are scenes of intelligent, grown men who are close friends playing about with daft ideas like little kids that brings a smile to all of us that don't want to completely abandon that youthful sense of fun. There is a lot more of that in this book.