Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Cortázar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cortázar. Show all posts

28 August, 2015

Julio Cortàzar, "The Southern Thruway"

Peugoet 404
The story portrays a group, many groups, of stranded motorists on a busy Parisian highway. They are stranded for several or many days and in that time, the people help each other, organize, one commits suicide, plan to obtain food and water, fight over water, medical help, daydream of better circumstances, barter, get angry, have sex. We see the weather go from blistering heat to snow and rain. It's an interesting way to get an arbitrary group of people together to see what happens when they are stranded for a long period of time and cannot get away. Although, one man does abandon his car but that causes a problem for that whole lane of traffic so someone else takes over his car when the traffic can move a few yards at a time again. When the traffic finally moves again, each lane moves at a different pace and so the groups dissolve. The story is told in a very close 3rd person POV. It's interesting also that people are not referred to by name but by the model of car they drive, Dauphine, Peugoet 404, ID Citroën, etc.

"The Southern Thruway" was first published prior to 1967 and Cortàzar claimed the story was used by Jean-Luc Godard for the long traffic jam take in the movie, The Weekend. Zoetrope: All-Story has reprinted the story in the Summer 2015 issue.

19 July, 2013

Julio Cortázar, "Blow-Up"

Evidently this story was originally titled, "The Devil's Drool," until Michelangelo Antonioni made his movie Blow-Up, and Cortázar's short story collection was put out in paperback. Although the story is hard to follow and somewhat experimental--plays with viewpoint--both it and the movie are about seeing, looking, photographs can be proof or just a photo and nothing more. The camera can see more than the human and it is out of context; it takes the human to make up a story line.
"...down the quay de Bourbon to the end of the isle
where the intimate square was..."

The short story takes place in Paris and Antonioni's movie is set in London in the 1960s. My copy of "Blow-Up" is from the anthology, Caught in the Act: The Photographer in Contemporary Fiction, edited by Barry Munger. It includes 10 stories by Pritchett, DeMarinis, Broun, Proulx, Ozick, Moravia, Theroux, Dörrie, Cortázar, and Calvino.

The photographer has only to put down the camera to see the world again without a frame around it. And, that world is different.

"Right now (what a word, now, what a dumb lie)..."

"...every looking oozes with mendacity..."

"I got it all into the viewfinder."

"...comparing the memory with the gone reality..."