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62: a model kit Unknown Binding – 1972

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 281 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon Books; [1st American ed.] edition (1972)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006C3U5O
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 15 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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"I'd like a bloody castle," the fat diner had said. Read the first page
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mr. John Clifton Hooper on 6 Aug. 2003
Format: Hardcover
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By molondas on 28 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
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.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Bamford on 18 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Firstly, my favourite authors include Salman Rushdie, Mario Vargas Llosa and Jose Saramago, I only say this to make the point that this review is not being written by someone who goes in for light or unchallenging reads. Secondly, I know Gregory Rabassa to be a very good and clear translator, as I have read several other books translated by him. Despite all of this, I read the first 10 pages of this book and understood almost nothing. It is extremely intellectual. Not a book for the educated man in the street.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Enter this labyrinth if you dare 16 Oct. 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
The way in is through a looking-glass that is also a vampire-haunted castle and at the sa e time a city that is all cities. Be forewarned that once you have entered the Zone, you will never completely leave it. You will find yourself in its shadowed galleries, its furtive plazas, its unpredictable elevators, from time to time for the rest of your life. You will ask questions that will never be answered (what was inside the doll?) and you will be haunted by a realization that important things are always happening just outside your understanding. Cortazar invented the interactive book in Hopscotch, another highly disturbing expedition into parallel reality, but 62: A Model Kit is his masterpiece. Here is a writer admired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pablo Neruda and Carlos Fuentes (who once wrote, "Anyone who does not read Cortazar is doomed") but has been deeply neglected in North America. Other writers talk about alternative realities; Cortazar opens the door.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Ably translated from Spanish for an English reading audience 15 Feb. 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
62: A Model Kit is ably translated from Spanish for an English reading audience by Gregory Rebassa and is a novel of fantasy, comedy, cities, snatches of conversations, brief meetings, characters whose lives begin at any moment and end in intense, brilliant encounters with others on a train, poignant love making, and even restaurant dining. The construction is free and open, devoid of the usual restraints of traditional novelistic order and take the reader on a daring and exciting new approach to life itself. 62: A Model Kit written so deftly and daringly by the late Julio Cortazar (1914-1984) is enthusiastically recommended reading for anyone with an interest in pushing the literary envelope as exemplified by the format of the novel.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Magic of Cortazar 7 Sept. 2013
By Sandra Evans - Published on
Format: Paperback
There is an amazon review of this book (which I think will be appropriately hidden behind a blue link that says: "read more reviews here") that claims that Cortazar is merely a magician or trickster whose writing lacks substance. It seems as if that reviewer specifically felt that 62: A Model Kit was little more than a collection of literary gimmicks.

I disagree.

This book is funny and entertaining, and yet, it is one of the most deeply serious books that I have read. Or I should say: it is the product of a serious mind that has faced unsolvable problems with vigor, and that (as in the mind) has come to appreciate those insurmountable problems as a gladiator might respect another skilled gladiator.

To illustrate I will speak of a common theme that runs through C.'s works:

the essential loneliness of being a human, caused by the incommunicable nature of inner experience (the inability to objectify terms like 'pain', 'thought', or 'mystical experience', the irrefutability of solipsism, problems posed by deception, etc.). Admittedly, Philosophical problems lead to very few (practical) places, yet they are impossible for some to leave aside. For those unfortunate, philosophically-challenged people there remains: experimental fiction that does its very best to remind you that the faces attached to the bodies which are walking around you on the street are not as inhuman as they look. Cortazar often seems to be telling his reader: "I too am overwhelmed by life as it is, by the feeling of being alone in public spaces, by societal pressures, and by the deceptions that separate me from my friends." It is a book made for the self-exiled and the isolated. It is also a novel that continually challenges the reader to look at the world without preconceptions, without ready-made (and possibly specious/vague) definitions.

The philosopher Wittgenstein once said that he had planned to make a philosophical work which consisted entirely of jokes, but that he had failed to write this book, since he lacked a sense of humour.

George Orwell also spoke of the need for intellectuals to constantly restate the obvious. I believe that humour is the most effective way to do this.

Humour is often effective when facing the feeling of being unable to say something... being unable to get others to understand things in the way that you do, despite clear language, mutual intelligence (or at least equal intelligence), and so on.
Laughter is often the pleasant expression of the (often somewhat exclusive) understanding between two (or three) people.

Cortazar is more than a trickster, possibly even more than a conjurer.
And 62: A Model Kit is his greatest achievement.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Fine Dining For Your Head. Read This Book. 29 Mar. 2012
By Lionheart - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cortazar at his best. Less ambitious than Hopscotch, perhaps, but more experimental in tone and style, 62: A Model Kit, is a brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed book remarkable not only for the insight into the painful inner meanderings of the human heart and mind it contains, but also for the unique mixture of humorous, frightening, and romantic backdrops against which the action takes place. The story itself is about a group of friends whose social and intellectual antipathies have led them to contrive certain private games (often dialectical in nature), of which "The City" is the most complex. This city is a kind of mental metropolis the friends have constructed as a counter to the real world. Thus their days are spent in either attempting to disturb the placid energies of the normally disposed people around them, or trying to back get into their bizarrely proportioned, enigmatically populated City, where perhaps final solutions to their spiritual angst wait to be discovered behind certain locked and sinister doors. Dark secrets float along the swiftly moving surface of their actions, however, while in the hidden depths beneath the tumultuous waters of the narrative lurk sex, death, betrayal, and finally, murder. This is a meticulously crafted book by a master at the very top of his game, and I highly recommend it.
my favorite Corttázar book 9 Feb. 2008
By Andrey - Published on
Format: Paperback
Cortázar never tells a story directly, instead he dances around, weaving an intricate web of words, images, allusions - what later crystallizes into a coherent story.

Jumping-around Jazz-like narrative.
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