AUTONAUTS OF THE COSMOROUTE BY JULIO CORTAZAR AND CAROL DUNLOP

source – personnel copy published by Telegram books

Julio Cortazar was a Argentina writer spent his youth around Europe before his family settled back in Argentina ,on leaving university ,he became a translator in france for Unesco ,he lived there until his death in the eighties ,he is considered one of the most influential latin american writers of the period  and european writers including Roberto Bolano and Georges Perec ,he was part of the fifties Noveau roman movement .The book follows Cortazar and his third wife the writer photograph Carol Dunlop,on a trip down one of the main freeways of france from Paris to Marseilles .

The book is made up as a travelogue / guide book in the style of the great books of history by the likes of Marco Polo .We find the preparation ,planning for this Journey down the main road from Paris to Marseilles ,not leaving the road and visiting two rest areas every day and sleeping in the dragon the name they gave their battered VW camper they had got for this voyage of discovery ,so we see the guys organizing food drops gathering scientific equipment a typewriter camera ,so they set of and we see each rest stop described .How the struggle with washing etc . Then we get Julio’s daily observations a map of the route ,what they eaten and Carols photographs of the gallant troop as they try to conquer the route .

The parell highway we’re looking for perhaps only exists in the imagination of those who dream of it ; but if it exists I( its to soon to make categorical affirmations and nevertheless one would say we’re there and have been for the last twenty for hours ;let’s be skeptical reader think before denying reality to this new route by eliminating the “perhaps” from the phrase ,that may well disappear with it ;may he have patience then,at least wait until we’ve been able to gather evidence .

just before they embark on the journey .

What I loved about this book is Julio’s ability to take what may seem something very boring and uninteresting as I 33 journey down a single road not leaving it for that time .But what he does is like slow cooking is in this age of speed and jets ,that as he says you may notice more when travelling at camels pace .So every rest are thou similar to the last is like a new country awaiting observation and discovery with their woods ,dogs that may be there or bins that may look like a little knights helmet ,how will the dragon cope with the heat ? .as the pace is slow they notice little things that pass the every day motorist ,it shows how the ebb and flow of life has sped up  over time .even at the end there is a sadness that the trip went so quickly .I ve had this a good year on my shelves and wish I d pick it earlier to read as it was a book I knew I d love and it was finished in two evening not bad for a 368 page BOOK,I just want to see them reach the next rest area have that next encounter and see what Julio made of it and what pictures there was of this leg of the trip  .the book was translated by Anne McLean from the Spanish .

Have you read Cortazar ? if so what should I read next ?

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Willa
    Nov 24, 2010 @ 07:40:45

    Not only does this sounds like a really beautiful book but I also love the cover!

    Reply

  2. amymckie
    Nov 24, 2010 @ 14:19:39

    I haven’t read Cortazar. This book sounds interesting… but I’m not sure if I’d like it. I might just hold off for now.

    Reply

  3. Trackback: Novenber round up « Winstonsdad's Blog
  4. conorcaffrey
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 20:45:16

    Try Hopscotch it is a classic.
    In my view his best book.

    Reply

  5. Trackback: Literature Class: Book Review – the looking glass
  6. mia
    Dec 27, 2017 @ 04:10:29

    Oh my goodness I NEED TO READ THIS! I love the title the cover and all the quotes you put in. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply

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