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Hopscotch: A Novel (Pantheon Modern Writers Series) Paperback – February 12, 1987

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Editorial Reviews


"The most magnificent novel I have ever read, and one to which I shall return again and again."
—C.D.B. Bryan, The New York Times Book Review

"Cortazar's masterpiece . . . The first great novel of Spanish America."
The Times Literary Supplement

"The most powerful encyclopedia of emotions and visions to emerge from the postwar generation of international writers."
—The New Republic

"A work of the most exhilarating talent and interest."
—Elizabeth Hardwick

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish (translation)

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Product Details

  • Series: Pantheon Modern Writers Series
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; 1st Pantheon pbk. ed edition (February 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394752848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394752846
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Steven Reynolds on December 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
I suppose it's unreasonable to expect the world's first so-called hypertext novel - one in which you can read the chapters sequentially, or in an order recommended by the author, or in any other order you choose - to have a compelling plot. After all, plot relies on anticipation and surprise, both of which come from authorial control over how and when information is revealed. A lot of the delight in fiction comes from this, and most of the rest from character, theme and the texture of the language. Cortazar's revolutionary novel is big on the last few, but not unexpectedly fails to be very engaging when it comes to story. It's more of a character study, or rather an elaboration of a philosophical position through the depiction of certain people in a particular place and time, i.e. left-leaning international emigres in 1950s Paris, and later the locals in Buenos Aires, who spend most of their time smoking, drinking, listening to jazz, competing for affection, philosophizing about life, and trying not to be the creative geniuses they obviously know they are. There are some wonderful set pieces: the infamous Chapter 28 involving a baby in a darkened room; the afternoon a plank bridge is erected to join two hotel rooms on opposite sides of a busy Buenos Aires street; an elaborate booby trap of water-filled basins, tangled threads and ball-bearings to thwart a vengeful lover in the night; and, obviously, the hopscotch squares of the title which are drawn in the courtyard of an insane asylum.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
It has taken me years to sit down and finally make a serious commitment to read Julio Cortazar's "Hopscotch/La Rayuela." I cannot think of a better companion to devote a few weeks to, maybe even a bit longer - hey, whatever it takes! It depends on your reading speed and the time you take to savor the poetry of the author's language. So, be willing to make a small personal investment in this very special novel, and the reward you reap will be a worthy one. Julio Cortazar will take you to places you have never been before in literature, and may never experience again. I read "Hopscotch" over this past summer, after a thirty year delay. I can be real stubborn about putting off what is good for me!! Cortazar's imagination is boundless, his prose rich and luminous, his wit and sophistication rare, the dialogue brilliant, the plot...I won't attempt to describe that with a few adjectives. Wander through the extraordinary labyrinthine plot on you own - the way is yours to discover. I promise, you won't get lost!

My introduction to "La Rayuela", (which means hopscotch, like the children's game), is a personal story. I will make it quick. About 30 years ago, while living in Latin America, a friend told me that I reminded him of a character in a novel. The character, La Maga - the book "La Rayuela/Hopscotch." With personal interests at stake and much curiosity, I bought a copy in Spanish, which I read with some fluency at the time. After experimenting with which way to approach the novel, and trying both ways, I gave up...and just read the parts about La Maga. I was too impatient at that point in my life, and needed to become a mellower person, to read slower, with more of a sense of play and participation.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By The Cultural Observer on April 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
Julio Cortázar (1914-1984) was an Argentine author who wrote prolifically during the Latin Boom that inundated the world with a wave of great novels. While readers who rummage through the literature of Spanish America first come across writers like Isabel Allende and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, these explorations would no doubt be rendered incomplete and pointless if they fail to acknowledge the work of this literary genius.

Julio Cortázar embarked on a life of letters as a poet. He was an admirer of the esteemed writer Jorge Luis Borges, a fellow Argentine who was a literary celebrity in his native country. Upon finishing his premier short story, Cortázar sought Borges for approval of his work, wondering if he was worthy of treading on the prosaic terrain over which his idol commanded with a sophisticated mastery. The older author gave him a thumbs up and thus set Cortázar off on a literary journey that gave the world a taste of his creative opus. In his illustrious career, Cortázar wrote a wealth of plays, poems and novels, the most famous of which is Hopscotch, or Rayuela as it was written in the original Spanish.

Hopscotch is not a novel for the systematic reader. It is a novel without a genre, a postmodern and experimental prose that plays like a game of hopscotch throughout its chapters. There is an abundance of metaphors, of connections, bridges, symbols, and artistic allusions. There are ejaculations of phrases in foreign languages and an interjection of aphorisms in verse. If history were to rewrite itself and eradicate all traces of Joyce, Hopscotch would have been the equivalent of Ulysses. The language is incredibly vivid, infinitely descriptive, colorful, sensuous, poetic, maddeningly abstract, and psychedelic.
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