Earlier this month the publishing world woke up to the sad news that Aurora Bernárdez had died in Paris at the age of 94 years. For many this name may not mean much because, like many women throughout history, Bernádez was often in the shadow of a man, Julio Cortázar. She was his first wife between 1953 and 1967 and several decades later, after the death of his second wife, Aurora Bernárdez cared for Cortázar during his illness. After his death, Bernådez became Cortázar’s literary executor and heir of all copyrights. She was responsible for revitalizing the work of this great Argentine author.
Today we remember some books and stories of Cortázar. To do this, we have launched a search for impossible spaces where some of the scenes of his most memorable stories might have taken place.
In Cortázar's Hopscotch, we meet Horacio Oliveira, first in Paris and then in Buenos Aires, a tormented soul immersed in a cultural landscape that today we might today call hipster but that was actually part of the literary and political underground of the sixties. The Paris we see in this novel is full of puddles and bridges and hidden lovers, of gabled house, dark rooms with books scattered everywhere, and lots of cigarette smoke and alcohol. We, however, we wanted to choose a slightly brighter scenario, like this room which could be the setting for some of the novel’s scenes.
The Winners, the first novel published by Julio Cortazar, tells about the extraordinary and surreal adventure shared by a group of people who, thanks to a mysterious prize, take a cruise together. But sharing a small space with complete strangers is further complicated when passengers are prohibited, for no apparent reason, go above deck. This is sort of a literary version of Big Brother that takes us into the bowels of a very unique boat, the Malcom.
Continuity of the parks
Undoubtedly one of the most disturbing and wonderful tales of modern literature, the story begins when the protagonist comes home after having dealt with some business matters. In his head he has only one thing: the novel that he has just begun and is fully engaged with. He enters studio, faces his green velvet chair away from the door so no one will bother him and continues reading a story, in which, unbeknownst to him, he plays a large part.
Mysterious, surreal and masterful,
Continuity of the parks should be read in this green velvet armchair, a perfectly fitting setting!
The southern thruway
Imagine heading back home on a Sunday after a weekend away and finding a monumental traffic jam on the southern highway. So begins another of Julio Cortázar’s famous stories. A surreal, irreverent and humorous story that you will remember for a long time after.
The island at noon
Marini works on an airline that covers the Rome-Tehran route, and on each trip, always at noon, she sees a turtle-shaped island where dreams can live, as if that island represent happiness. But things turn out to be very different than they seem…
Perhaps if Marini had worked on this elegant private jet, her obsession with the island would not have been so strong. But who knows? Everything is possible in the universe Cortázar.
If you like literature and design, check out this ideabook.