Cortazar’s Hopscotch turns 50 (but The Pursuer hasn’t aged a day)

julio cortazar the pursuer el perseguidor

Today, Twitter is tweeting about Julio Cortazar’s Hopscotch turning 50, and there is a lot of reflecting going on about this book’s impact on Twentieth Century Literature. But, when we are all done with that, I would like to suggest revisiting, or even rereading, The Pursuer.

Prompted by the 140-character summaries of Hopscotch, I grabbed my copy of The Pursuer this morning and was surprised to see how overboard I had gone with the underlining.  But, thanks to the wait at my son’s pediatrician, I selected three passages that sum up why I think this short story accomplishes so much.  I guess this is my version of a tweet.

To me, the above passage encapsulates the main question Cortazar asks in The Pursuer: can a critic truly capture his subject? A smaller question, sprouting from the first, is captured below: can the critic have as much fun as the composer?

Julio Cortazar El Perseguidor The Pursuer Las Almas Secretas

The answer to both, according to Cortazar, is a lonely no.

The final passage captures the second big thing that Cortazar ponders in The Pursuer: are cats and dogs real? Well, they might be, but we are just terrible at saying how.


I apologize to English readers for the passages in Spanish; I must be making Cortazar even more difficult to grasp.

Julio Cortázar. El Perseguidor, Las Almas Secretas. Read Bogotá, 2009

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