Confusing fast so one needs to pay attention or in my case read a passage to figure things outBut the joy is the short story is brevity and gettingmaking a point This is almost always at the very end La autopista del sur was not and one is either amazed or annoyed Almost all of these endings for me were in the first category There is humour love fear tragedy and just plain enjoyment involved here I found the last two stories as well as the first two as full five story reads the other four were good but a little lesser in wow factor for me So I would give it a 45 but I am sure other readers would bicker on this point If you like the short story these are worthy to readBelow are My Individual ReactionsLa Autopista Del Sur At individual reactionsLa autopista del sur At I didn t uite grasp where Cort zar was going with this story because it just seemed too obvious A couple with a young child gets stuck in a huge traffic jam Everyone slowly begins to chat share food and water help each other but then this traffic jam seemed to go on and on For days
or so it seemed Mysterious cars appear selling black market materials someone gets ill a person dies so it seemed Mysterious cars appear selling black market materials someone gets ill a person dies things tidy up The whole story is symbolism for our society At first we help but then bad things happen and our predictable lives are a mess This one packs a punch even though it s very subtleLa salud de Los enfermos I really enjoyed the black humour of this story Mama is old and very week One should not aggravate ever So when her youngest child the golden one sets off for Brazil as an engineer on a big project he gets illed in an accident The family decides its best not to tell her the truth He s busy or he can t get time off or any excuse Then her aging sister gets or he can t get time off or any excuse Then her aging sister gets and dies now what do we do Loved this storyReuni n The soldiers land on the beach and Luis is going to help them Things go badly They seem to be on the run Will Luis help themLa se orita Cora This was a fun one Young teen boy in the hospital for appendicitis and in pain Enter nurse Cora She will make things better Won t she Nothing like young male loveLa isla a mediod a This story icked off enjoyably Young Italian man flies over his favourite Greek island three times a week exactly at noon He has given up Carla acts like a playboy sleeping with whom he meets especially stewardesses But he can t get this island out of his head He borrows some money makes the challenging trip to the island only to discover there is only a family living there Then the unexpected happens Not uite what I was expectingInstructiones para John Howell A man his woman deceived by an another man is played out in a theatrical mannerTodos los fuegos el fuego This is a master of writing blending a scene from a Roman gladiator battle with a m nage between a man and two women The scenes switch sometimes every couple of lines but the symbolism is masterful Even that odd title All the fires the fire hits you after you read the last lines of the storyEl otro cielo Wow what a story This was my favourite in the book The narrator a runner in the stock market is engaged to Irma He is bored of his job and his impending marriage and freuents the brothels so typical of Latin American writers and spends the nights with Josiane He enjoys the other heaven but when mysterious Laurent begins illing prostitute things get tense The story is set during the forties in Buenos Aires and the lives of the working poor erupts with political upheaval the narrator is forced to make choices This political side intertwines the social side and Cort zar weaves a masterful story This is one to read Julio Cort zar and his cat Photo taken in the early 1960s when Julio was living in Paris An outstanding collection of eight short stories by one of the giants of 20th century literature Argentina s Julio Cort zar 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 Para sus lectores y para los amantes del cuento en general La salud de los enfermos Reunion La senorita Cora La isla a mediodia Instrucciones para John Howell. .
Cortazar created a certain All Roads Lead Home kind of storytelling in the work collected in Blow Up and Other Stories aind of moebius strip construction that flips over and loops back without slowing Here he seems consciously to eep pushing his forms forward defying the expectations he has laid out for himself and pushing in new directions or else cutting back TO AVOID THE EXPECTED TWIST BY SOME SUBTLE MANEUVER avoid the expected twist by some subtle maneuver results vary in success making this a bit uneven as a collection but never for a moment boring The dystopian roadways of the opener stun in particular Reading Julio Cortazar brings back an internal debate I was having with myself after I attended a book group in which we discussed One Hundred Years of Solitude Most the attendees were dismissive of the novel due to what they felt was an incoherent plot structure and unrealistic events within the novel which led me to ponder the difference between naturalistic and linear Anglo Saxon narrative techniues and the fantastical nature of Latin American nature in which the authors instead of telling a linear story are concerned with dissecting and exploring literary narratives in a fashion that most readers used to the conventions of Western fiction would find disorientating during events that most Western writers would find unrealisticLike Borges Cortazar is concerned not so much with objective reality but exploring the surreal and all too often fantastical nature of reality vis vis art The Other Heaven being a Borges like play on a conventional literary genre the murder mystery story welded together with the surreal world which Cortazar has created for his characters who revolve like planets around his imaginary universe Like Garcia Maruez and Mario Vargas Llosa Cortazar explores the highly sentimental world of Spanish soap operas in The Health of the Sick a wonderful and whimsical exploration of family relationships The surreal atmosphere of Instructions for John Howell a story which is suffused with a Kafkaesue paranoia which again resembles Borges is another brilliant story and the jejunish The Island at Noon recalls the fantastical Invention of Morel by Bioy Casares However Cortazar s strongest short is the one in which he sheds the skins of literary influences to create a truly original and spellbinding juxtaposition of a gladiator s demise in Ancient Rome with a scene between a couple set in modern times Cortazar s imagination sets off a spark which incinerates
The Arena In Which arena in which gladiator lies dying which in turns sets off a blaze in the apartment of the couple as the two scenes coalesce at the end of the story as Cortazar s imagination conflagrates as he blazes his own path in literary history to create the wonderful set of short stories contained in All Fires the Fire and his other short story collections 35 starsI was evenly divided over this collection There was sufficient detail and structure yet the mechanism the revelation was as likely as not to go flat at the crucial moment South Thruway and The Island at Noon both had a universal ua This is the first book I have ever tried by Julio Cortazar In this collection I found the best story this one with the unbelievable traffic jam in highway to Paris which focus on the relationships being developed between people under difficult or even dangerous situations and the melancholic taste that leaves the ending I also liked a lot the story starring the young nurse miss Cora and admired the multiple narrators who appear with no previous warning in the text Also the story about the health of sick people was pretty good The other stories were just ok and some of them ind of indifferent In general and without being a big fan of short stories I pretty liked this collection and although I didn t find the whole book as something special I adored the narrative voice of Cortazar which is uite addictive and I guess I ll continue with him at some point with some other of his books Excellent short stories My favorite was La Isla a mediodia Cortazar certainly has a Todos los fuegos el fuego 1966 ofrece ocho muestras rotundas de la plenitud creadora ue alcanzan los cuentos de Cortazar Desde la exasperada metafora de las Ay with words and he spins the most memorable tales that are than merely short stories they are paintings with words I first read his short stories in college so these are rereads for me and enjoyed just as much the second time around They are never to be forgotten My first Cort zar Surreal lyrical and absolutely magnificent About once a year I find a new writer I ve never read that stays with me 2019 will undoubtedly be the year I found Julio Cort zar Each story in this collection is a master class in how to distill a grand novelistic idea The shifting voices in the title story and Nurse Cora were unlike anything I ve read before Every word was meticulously placed and each sentence the mark of a craftsman I ve noticed that most writers and readers don t simply recommend reading Cort zar they say you must read Cort zar Now I now why Eight stories with a touch of magical realism like his countryman Borges Cortazar was born in Argentina but like so many other Latin American authors left for Paris in his late thirties and died there in 1984In the title story two stories are juxtaposed scenes of a Roman gladiator fighting for his life in an arena with modern scenes from a man on the phone with his wife girlfriend at his side Both stories end in conflagrations Another story starts with a week long traffic jam in Paris As food runs short and some older folks die without medical help people start to re create society They organize themselves into local tribes some help others and share their food others steal and sell for profit A family conspires to eep the news of the death of a brother from their elderly critically ill mother They Think They Succeed So think they succeed so that they end up fooling themselves than the mother A band of brothers
*fight in the *in the Civil War their comradery and feeling for each other offers some solace from what will be futility as the enemy closes in around themA young married nurse falls in love with a much younger awkward boy who is terminally illAn airline steward flies over the Mediterranean each day and becomes obsessed with a certain island he repeatedly sees from the air He uits his job moves to the island and experiences tragedy A man continues to seek the company of a prostitute even after he has become engaged He offers her protection from a serial The Mephisto Threat (Paul Tallis killer preying on the night women When theiller is caught and he is ready to marry and be faithful he sees a life of emptiness ahead of him A man in a theater is pulled out of the audience and forced to play a part in a stage drama He goes along with the expected role for the first act but he ad libs in later acts with dire conseuences Pretty good stories but not up to those of the master This collection of short stories was originally published in 1966 in Spanish translated into English in 1973 and re released by Marion Boyers Publishers UK in 2005 I picked it up at the London Review Bookshop this summerIf I had only read the first two short stories The Southern Thruway and The Health of the Sick I would have given this book 5 stars The first story is about a horrific traffic jam on a major road bringing travelers back to Paris where motorists are essentially motionless for weeks with no help from local residents or government officials The second story is centered around the dying matriarch of a wealthy family whose members ingeniously hide from her the death of her son and sister or so they thinkUnfortunately the remaining six stories do not come close
to the promise of the first two and only Nurse Cora a story about a teenage boy whothe promise of the first two and only Nurse Cora a story about a teenage boy who hospitalized with appendicitis competently cared for by I had read several recent reviews on this book and was encouraged to read this small collection of eight stories Published in 1966 some stories are written in a very experimental style Instructiones para John Howell and Todos los fuegos el fuego I have read his classic Rayuela a very experimental book and loved it I have to admit when Cort zar uses this techniue in a short story it can get. Elaciones humanas ue es La autopista del sur hasta la maestria de El otro cielo Cortazar vuelve a abrir nuevos caminos con relatos ue son referencia obligada.