At the front of it is a Table of Instructions. The second is to follow a key of numbers, corresponding to the chapter headings, which sends the reader jumping back and forth through the book. Fascinating, right? Meanwhile, there are his short stories.
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Photo taken in the early s when Julio was living in Paris. In their own way, each story is a gem, with such titles as The Southern Thruway and the title piece, All Fires the Fire. Below is my write-up of one of the stories that really hit home for me. Spoiler alert: my analysis is of the entire story, beginning to end. Think of how claustrophobic we can become on an airplane as passengers; then think of all those men and women who spend so much of their life on airplanes.
Let me out of here! And, of course, in the hectic bustle of our modern world, we all have dreams of escape to a deserted island paradise, reducing all our many nagging hassles down to zero. Growing Obsession: Marini knows he is obsessed — he had read the guidebooks telling him how octopus is the main resource, Xiros fisherman use large stones for piles and every five days a boat leaves for Xiros.
He even makes a trip to a travel agency where they tell him he will have to charter a special boat or perhaps hitch a ride on the octopus boat. And since we live in the age of information with an entire ocean of facts available for anyone to collect and sort through on any topic whatsoever, our obsession can easily fill our every waking hour. And then his dream comes true: he finally gets to travel to Xiros. Marini immediately feels at home, kinship with Klaios, instant friends with the boys.
He swims and occasionally turns on his back to float, accepting all of his surroundings in a single act of conciliation. He now knows in his heart he has found a new home and will never return to his old life. Dream Come True, Two: After his swim, he strolls back toward the houses. Mirini voices the one Greek word he knows: Kalimera.
The boy doubles over in laughter. Ah, to share your moment of supreme joy with a new friend. Mirini turns toward the sea and catches a glimpse of the charter boat becoming smaller and smaller on the horizon, which, for him, signals farewell to any dealings he will ever have with his former life.
Good riddance! Mirini closes his eyes, not even wanting to catch so much of a glimpse of the plane that will be flying overhead very soon. He dives in the water — all he can glimpse is a cardboard box and a hand, the hand of a dying man. He pulls the man in a white shirt up on land, a man who is now dead in his arms. His mind reels. The boy and some women from the village run up to him. Thus ends the story. However, as readers we know this day, this hour, will be the most vivid, most memorable in the life of Mirini.
All Fires The Fire and Other Stories by Julio Cortázar (Suzanne Jill Levine, translator)
He was born in Brussels, Belgium, in In , he moved with his parents to their native Argentina. He taught high school and later French literature at the University of Cuyo, resigning after participating in demonstrations against Argentine President Juan Peron. He worked for a Buenos Aires publishing company and also earned a degree as a translator. Cortazar is part of the "boom" of excellence in Latin American letters in the s and s.
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All Fires the Fire