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All Fires the Fire Paperback – 21 Jul 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd; Reprinted edition edition (21 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714534005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714534008
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 182,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Cortazar's stories are like small time pieces, where each polished part moves relentlessly on its own particular path, exercising a crucial and perpetual influence on the mechanism as a whole. Moments jerk forward and retract, reflect and refract: an island at noon from an aeroplane - an aeroplane at noon from an island; the living deceiving the dying and also themselves, about death; fatality by fire in an ancient Roman arena and in a modern city apartment. It is a world that is constantly shifting, upsetting our balance and our peace of mind, a world outside of time that provokes a fascination bordering on terror. Cortazar is the master of the form and this celebrated collection houses some of his finest work.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DRFP on 16 Oct 2010
Format: Paperback
I was expecting something a little more abstract / magical realist from Cortázar, based off of his reputation (this being my first foray into his fiction). Instead I found this collection a surprisingly concrete set of very good short stories. It's true that Cortázar sometimes plays switches narrator / location with extreme abruptness and little punctuation to delineate a natural break, but it's really not that hard to follow. I don't think anyone who has somehow gotten their hands on Cortázar will find it difficult (surely no dunce is going to pick this up off the shelves?).

Nor do I think there a weak story in this whole collection. The gladiatorial part of the title story is probably the most odd part but it still worked well. I thought Nurse Cora and Health of the Sick two very poignant tales and the best of the lot. Those two were the real stand outs but the entire book is highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Eight stories, eight new ways of seeing 6 Feb 2002
By Doug Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My favorite Cortazar short story is "The Southern Thruway" with its hilariously dry epigraph:
Sweltering motorists do not seem to have a history...As a reality a traffic jam is impressive, but it doesn't say much.-Arrigo Benedetti, L'Espresso, Rome, 6.21.64
Cortazar reminds me of Kafka and Nabokov, Calvino and of course Borges, but also of an author who came after him Antonio Tabucchi who also writes strange stories.
Cortazar like these others is known for being a fabulist, an inventor of worlds, and he is, but what makes any fiction wonderful is how true it is. Sometimes the fantastic is a more direct route to the real nature of reality than is the more obvious realist one. Thats not to say Cortazar writes sci fi but just that he always approaches the world in a way that is surprising and so he renders the ordinary extraordinary better even than those that I mentioned along side of him. Some of the stories are light and some dark and they all have the allure of upsetting the normal flow of things which we know as reality, at which time the curious begin to question the nature of that reality and perhaps in their questioning begin to search among the wreckage of the old reality for a different kind of order, one that no one had previously thought existed. What better task is there for an author or reader than to search for new realities?
Originally published in 1966, English edition 1973.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
innner space 14 April 2000
By courtney J angermeier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Like a soft bag bag full of marbles; each piece in this well-crafted collection of short fiction is tight, translucent, and colorful as a glass ball. Cortezar's short fiction is better focused than his longer work, specifically Hopscotch which I found slightly gimmiky and annoying. This work, however manages to be incredibly solid and satisfying without being shallow or facile (a difficult task). Cortezar's style here is reminiscent of some of the short fiction of Italo Calvino encapsulating that same sense of crushingly beautiful tragi-comedy that leaves you wondering wether you're awake or asleep. The stories range in subject from a family trying to protect an aging mother from the death of her son by keeping up a false correspondence for years to a man who falls in love during a three-month traffic jam just outside of Paris. Cortezar explores the same old stuff in the stories: the complexity of human relationships, the bizarre quirks of tenderness, everyone's ultimate solitude. The thing is: he does it in a way that makes me examine "the same old stuff" in a new way; like looking into the tiny bubbles in the glass of that marble. Really, he says in words something that cannot be said in words. If that makes any sense. The work is funny and lovely and surprising and, on the whole, one of the finest collections of short fiction I have found.
Such a good book! 31 Dec 2013
By Heather - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this by request of a Brazilian friend who thought I needed to expand my reading material a little more internationally. I loved the stories and thought that the arrival was fantastic! It didn't take long to get here. Highly recommended read.
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