"It's useless, beautiful women always go on the other boat"
(From his novel The prizes)
The year is 1950. The rain blurs the window of the old one London Bar, as British as its name, in the corner of Peru and Avenue May. Between a cold coffee and an ashtray that doesn't accept anything more, Julio Florencio Cortázar Descotte, year 36, face of boy, giganton of almost two meters – graft of man and poplar, combed with jopo, for the use of those days, finished writing The prizes: his first novel.
But no: first for literary reviews and biographies. Because shortly before it has stopped The sample. An anti-peronistic allegory ending with a heavy fog burying Plaza de Mayo, Leaders, General, El Potros scene and his wife, The Fairy of the Poor.
Truly his second attempt at the regime. The first was his story House taken, his first reader was Borges, and also the man who published it in a literary supplement.
Congratulations as they say in the world of bulls and bullfights …
Julio dares to give birth The samplebut not to take it on paper: the censorship is tough and the punishment can be worse. It will only hit the national shelves … in 1986!
And very soon after goodbye. The year is 1951. July begins. Destination: Paris. And it will not return to – but only in passing – at the beginning of the 70s, and already sick (leukemia?), In the days of Alfon and democracy.
Then he knows (and declares) it "I am a literary animal". Nothing more true: write poems from the age of nine, "and the sunsets come out around".
Of course, for a similar animal, Paris is Mecca. Mezzanine without elevator. The best black tobacco in the world (Gitanes, Gauloises, without filter, of course). Furtive cats sliding through their window. Jazz all the time (Louis Armstrong. Duke Ellington. Charlie Parker, the tragic saxophonist immortalized in his story persecutor). And classics: from Bach to Bela Bártok, all the spin on the scale.
But Buenos Aires is not dead in his retina or in his heart. Corrientes Street draws it; The boundary between the streets of the Agronomy neighborhood where he lived; Morocho del Abasto's eternal voice wandering and above all the box: one of his passions or perhaps crazy things.
He was only nine years old in 1923, when he was at Polo Grounds in New York, Luis Ángel Firpo, one of the black and white checkered robes, took off the ring in the first round of an almost deadly punch, the world champion Jack Dempsey.
Firpo won (Jack returned to the ring, aided by the audience, nearly twenty seconds later), "but they stole fight", recalled Julio, who never stepped in to defeat: Dempsey beat him in the second round.
Over time, he loved Carlos Monzón and a Nicolino Locche, but never as much as Justo SuárezTorito de Mataderos, a former boxer who died alone without copper and tuberculosis in Cordoba and also lost by a blond casquivana: In short, Julio became a memorable story: Torito.
Posted in the first person and from the skin and voice of his idol: "And I, Torito, Dale Dale, Dale Dale". And then between two worlds, "write because I want it and because I don't know how to do something else", undoubtedly devised the most original, most provocative, and strangest literature of a son of silver, long before the famous Latin American boom.
In Buenos Aires in the winter of 1963 (days of traditional tangueros versus Piazzolla, blue and red military days in battle), appeared in the bookstores – in silence without marketing – the first edition of hopscotch.
Modest cover: the road between hell and sky through the eleven squares drawn with chalk on the pavements, the boys walking on one leg.
Strange explosion: sold out in less than a month. Strange because a writer never dared such a challenge: A book that could (or should?) Be read in a row (page one to five hundred), or start with two hundred or so, or where the reader would like. Telling her betrays her, but what does that mean?
Oliveira is an Argentine living in Paris (Julio, maybe?). With La Maga and other friends join Snake Club to discuss in length about life and art. He returns to Buenos Aires and his girlfriend, but recalls La Maga is indelible. And then the chaos: newspaper clipping, book quotes, pure surrealism, always in search of heaven.
Antinovela so hard to write as to read, which nevertheless ignites as a flood of reptiles lit by a flashlight.
Suddenly all teens swore (or something else: ladies and even beautiful ladies and about thirty years) "La Maga is I. I met Julio in Paris and he was inspired by me".
The newly opened shops and some literary cafes were called Rocamadour: One of the key names in the book.
The usual opportunists – the master's friends – folded without shame: "I was very close to Julio … Julio, with another name, included me in a story", etc.
The only one who didn't settle for that lie was the great Abelardo Castillo: "We always treat you and we call each other with our surnames". Noblesse commits to remember him …
The true one imprimaturIn addition to its thirty-language translations, it was Mario Vargas Llosa. Carlos Fuentes and Octavio Paz, who agreed in an indisputable judgment: "It is one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century".
And after more than half a century it's still in bookstores. By the way, withoutans: Something very difficult in these drunken times of political and questionable besotellers appeared in the summer "reading on the beach", as some journalistic recommendations say. Because who would think to read The metamorphosis (Kafka) or Death in Venice (Thomas Mann) between sessions of bronzer and diver?
Cortázar was born in Belgium by accident: during a trip of her parents. He served as a public primary school teacher (his only title) in Bolivar, Saladillo and Chivilcoy: full and lonely national plain. And then, as a brilliant translator: No one turned as he did in Spanish, worked in Edgar Allan Poe. He split the world into good (Cronopios) and bad (Famas). He approached the fantasy genre with mastery. He sowed libraries and readers with inevitable titles: End of the game, the secret weapons, today's return in eighth worlds, Manual book…
It is still debating whether he was a better storyteller than a novelist or vice versa: the controversy is idle as it is useless because there is no string that he has played with a false note.
Except, according to many critics, when he – undoubtedly based on conviction – embraced the cause of the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions. For lovers of literary purity, it was their worst step. Not because of the free choice: because the left priests turned him into a red totem, always invited to conferences and forced to confess his professional political beliefs in dozens of scenarios that had nothing to do with the literature: the same stage as In his last years, Pablo Neruda, in his poems against imperialism, far from light years of his best poetry.
Three women followed him from his first days in Paris to his death on February 12, 1984, perhaps with rain over the city, which his last day predicted the great poet César Vallejo: "I want to die in Paris with a run-down".
They were Aurora Bernárdez, Ugné Karvelis and Carol Dunlopwhere he peered "Faithful mine with big heart" Tell tango that he never forgot.
He didn't forget so much that he remedied luminous – this part of tango Hand in hand with a masterful touch: "Rechiflao in my sadness / today evokes you and I see that you have been / in my poor pariah's life / a good library".
It is a perfect synthesis of what was from his first children's poem to his last line: a colossal and cruelliterary nimal.
And everything else that was away from the keys, the magic qwertyuiopIt was pure anecdote.
From the hell of the chalk drawn on the street he reached the sky without hindrance to the eleven squares that rule.
Just write to the joy of the great world.
Only jump on endless hopscotch in half of the planet and on the quest for heaven.
Because it and nothing else is hopscotch: an ordered chaos – whose oxymoron was possible – of bride, beauty, astonishment, Chinese boxes and a great statement of mediocrity, defeated in the only possible way: with a cocktail of freedom and madness in equal parts … while a bear touches pipes.