Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar

hopscotch-by-julio-cortazarHopscotch by Julio Cortazar, published in Spanish in 1963 and in English in 1966, is a strange novel. It is considered revolutionary but reading it from a now perspective,it seems pretentious or the other possibility  is I am ignorant (which I am, of numerous things). It read like a discourse on life, relationships, knowledge, and feelings.

It is  a postmodernist novel in its use of narrative voices (first person, third person, and stream of consciousness) and techniques. The novel has 155 chapters, the last 99 designated as “expendable,” some of which fill in the gaps while others add information or simply record random musings (almost journal and blog-like). Morelli, a writer, appears in these chapters that also have footnotes. The novel, as suggested by the author, can be read in two ways: as a linear narrative from chapters 1 to 56 or by “hopscotching” through the entire set of 155 chapters according to a “Table of Instructions.” The reader can also choose his/her own path through the narrative.

Hopscotch is an account of the life of Horacio Oliveira, an Argentinean intellectual. He experiences life in Paris in the 1950s. The other characters consist of La Maga and a band of bohemian intellectuals who call themselves the Serpent Club. The other members of the Serpent Club are:  Ossip Gregorovius, a rival for Lucía’s affections, the artists Perico Romero and Etienne, Etienne’s friend Guy Monod, Wong, and Ronald and Babs (who are married). There is jazz, walking in Paris, and intellectual discussions (too many). Continue reading