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Ebook O Jogo da Amarelinha by Julio Cortázar read! Book Title: O Jogo da Amarelinha
The author of the book: Julio Cortázar
ISBN: 8520002986
ISBN 13: 9788520002988
Language: English
Edition: Civilização Brasileira
Date of issue: 1999
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 649 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.1

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Table of Instructions

This review consists of two reviews. The first can be read in a normal fashion. Start from 1 and go to 12, at the close of which there are three garish little stars which stand for the words The End. Consequently, the reader may ignore what follows with a clean conscience.

The second should be read by beginning with 1 and then following the sequence indicated at the end of each sentence or paragraph. For example, if you see “> 24”, then proceed to paragraph/sentence # 24 (which is conveniently labelled and bolded).

From The Other Side

1 I expected this book to be more inventive than it turned out to be, based mostly on how much hoopla there was around its experimental form. I had it in my head that the book could be read in an infinite variety of ways. While it certainly can be, the ‘instructions’ at the beginning specifies only 2 official ways of reading it. And besides, they are subsets of each other (with slight inconsistencies, for example chapter 55 is left out of one version). It seemed almost like watching a movie on a DVD and having the ability to watch it with or without the deleted scenes.

But as I progressed, I felt that the flipping of pages had a different effect on me. > 17

2 It lent a physical structure to the route that the book was taking. Having the expendable chapters wedged in between the normal chapters instead of at the end would have resulted in pretty much the same novel, but would also have had a slightly different, lesser effect. The need to flip constantly back and forth made the enterprise into a kind of personal search, with a possibility of getting completely lost. > 27

3 This is an exciting possibility. Unlike in a normal book where I could gauge my progress by the heft of pages in my right vs. left hands (almost like a subconscious scale), in this book it was clear that the page I was on meant nothing at all. In parts, where the narrative took me on a whole string of hopping-around among the expendable chapters, I felt completely disoriented, but in a good way. Like I was swimming with no sight of the shore. > 23

4 What’s more, the expendable chapters can be seen as a sort of appendage to the main book. In this way, the book is not a thing with defined borders, but one that flows and overflows in soft focus. Because the novel talks constantly about literature itself, it is inevitable to think of all the works that the novel references (and there are many: Oblomov, The Man without Qualities, Bouvard and Pecuchet, Under the Volcano, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, The Confusions of Young Törless, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, to name just a few off the top of my head) as “expendable novels” that are part of this one if you were to just expand those fuzzy borders slightly. > 14

5 So that another way of reading this book (not included in the instructions at the beginning) would be to read it straight through but at any mention of another novel, you must go immediately and read it in its entirety, then come back to this book where you left off. > 29

6 Similarly, one could expand the borders even further to works influenced by this book (including Cortázar’s own 62: A Model Kit, inspired by chapter 62 of this book). Or even further into fictional works that exist only in the book, like Morelli’s novels, and Ceferino’s writings. One could keep going until this book included all of literature, or you die of exhaustion, whichever comes first (guess!). > 7

From This Side

7 But maybe all this bullshit about form is way overblown. Maybe it’s all an elaborate distraction so that the book itself can be hidden underneath: a quilt with its little hopscotch squares performing its exquisite covering-over-nature. > 20

8 Because the form of the book is so dazzling, its shimmering surface attracts the reviewers’ full attention. They can’t look away. What ends up being ignored are the things hidden underneath, which sheds light on the whole reason for the circuitous form to begin with. > 16

9 Throughout the book, Cortázar is concerned not only with literature and writing itself, but with the possibility of writing at all. Is it even possible to say a thing, to communicate with an ‘other’?

If the person you are communicating with is truly an ‘other’, then communication would not be possible at all. For how can you talk unless you have some kind of shared experience? And yet if the other person was not an ‘other’ then they are the same as you, and you are in essence just talking to yourself. And what is the point of that? Mental masturbation. Therefore, is not the only worthy venture for language to communicate the impossible? To attempt interactions with an ‘other’ who will always misunderstand? > 24

10 Then again, isn’t it sometimes harder to communicate with someone you’re close with? > 31

11 At the center of this question is a deliberately silly scene. It’s morning and Oliveira wants some fresh maté as well as some straight nails. His best friend (Traveler) and wife (Talita) are just across the way, also on the same floor, but in an opposite apartment building. It would be easy for him to go downstairs, then go back up the stairs in Traveler’s apartment building, get the maté and nails, go back downstairs, then go up the stairs in his own apartment. Instead, they build an elaborate bridge from planks of wood and rope, weighing it down with the bed and the dresser and their own bodies like a scale. On this precarious contraption, Talita is asked to deliver the goods by crawling across the planks, risking a fall to her bloody death. This is a circus act made only more funny by its inelegant obviousness: Traveler and Talita actually work in a circus! > 25

12 Even the simplest communications require a circus act. And yet, we all carry within ourselves some morsel of deep understanding about everything, some essence that is impossible to share. Is Cortázar saying it is not worth trying? No, he obviously went through the circus act of writing this book, and made you go through the circus act of flipping through the pages. Because, for Cortázar, this bridge (across what he calls the “unbridgeable distance”) is never achieved elegantly (but so humanly in its inelegance), and never completely. And precisely because of that, we should try all the harder. He seems to be saying “Look what fun can be had along the way!” (but watch out, you can also fall to your death) > 21


From Diverse Sides (Expendable Sentences):

13 page 307: “The unbridgeable difference, a problem of levels that had nothing to do with intelligence or information” > 33

14 “At the center is the metaphor of imaginative numbers. Torless learns of them in math class, and spends some pages thinking about how we can start with something completely real, apply an element that does not exist to it (but we pretend it does, temporarily, just for the sake of conjecture) and that the logical result of that (because the imaginative numbers eventually cancel each other out on both sides of the equation) is a real result. But that the bridge between the two real worlds is one that's completely made up.” -- from my Goodreads review of The Confusions of Young Törless > 26

15 “All great works of literature either dissolve a genre or invent one.” --Walter Benjamin > 3

16 page 438: “Feeling that Heisenberg and I are from the other side of a territory, while the boy is still straddling with one foot in each without knowing it, and that soon he will be only on our side and all communication will be lost. Communication with what, for what?” > 9

17 By any literal definition, this book can be called a page turner. > 2

18 page 281: “that you would have given me such an urge to be different...” > 12

19 “In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland the game is called Himmel und Hölle (Heaven and Hell) although there are also some other names used, depending on the region. The square below 1 or the 1 itself are called Erde (Earth) while the second to last square is the Hölle (Hell) and the last one is Himmel (Heaven). The first player throws a small stone into the first square and then jumps to the square and must kick the stone to the next square and so on, however, the stone or the player cannot stop in Hell so they try to skip that square.” -- Wikipedia > 28

20 page 287: “This all seemed perfect to Talita and at the same time there was something like a bedcover about it, or a teapot cover, or some kind of cover, just like the recorder or Traveler’s satisfied air, things done or decided, to be put on top, but on top of what, that was the problem and the reason that everything underneath it all was still the way it had been before the half-linden, half-mint tea.” > 8

21 “For me, literature is a form of play. But I’ve always added that there are two forms of play: football, for example, which is basically a game, and then games that are very profound and serious. When children play, though they’re amusing themselves, they take it very seriously. It’s important. It’s just as serious for them now as love will be ten years from now. I remember when I was little and my parents used to say, “Okay, you’ve played enough, come take a bath now.” I found that completely idiotic, because, for me, the bath was a silly matter. It had no importance whatsoever, while playing with my friends was something serious. Literature is like that—it’s a game, but it’s a game one can put one’s life into. One can do everything for that game.” -- Julio Cortázar > 12

22 p160: “The actors speak and move about no one knows why or for what reason. We project our own ignorance into them and they seem like madmen to us, coming and going in a very decided way.” > 19

23 “I’m about half way through the first part/side, and I remember what frustrates me about Cortázar. His prose is so delicious, but I find myself enjoying the back-and-forth of the characters’ dialogue much less. Especially in some sections in here I just want to be reading Cortázar’s hypnotic prose where he’s inside one of his character’s head, describing a feeling or idea rather than the constant chatter between characters. Within this chatter, the rhythm drops off, and my enjoyment does too.” > 22

24 page 279: “ draws back, from his best friend, no less, who is the one we have the most trouble telling such things to. Doesn’t it happen to you, that sometimes you confide much more in just anybody?” > 31

25 In this picture, Oliveira and Traveler are two faces in a mirror, and yet Talita is the bridge that joins them. Only through her is communication possible. The whole scene is ridiculous and ridiculously obvious, but this awkwardness is precisely its charm. No, this is not an elegant metaphor with a poetic flourish. It's a messy one, with all these extra appendages. > 18

26 With all the deliberate fragmentation going on in here, Cortázar seems unusually obsessed with the rather old fashioned idea of unity, or shall I say whunity. That “coherent scheme, an order of thought and life, a harmony” (p 291) > 5

27 page 442: “What good is a writer if he can’t destroy literature?” > 30

28 Sometimes these characters and their philosophical prattle annoy me, but I think Cortázar doesn’t always like them either, and is kind of making fun of them, which makes it suddenly OK to read 600 pages of it. (Or does it? It does if you love Cortázar’s prose to begin with I guess) Like all ‘big books’ this is a flawed one, but one which is so willing to make fun of itself, it seems. Even though on the surface it seems much more pretentious (the talks in the cafe about literature and philosophy might give this impression) underneath it all, there is a voice that never takes itself too seriously, a voice of loving laughter that is intensely self aware of its own pretensions (but realizes that those pretensions need to be said, that there is some limited (though dangerous) truth in them also). > 34

29 page 179: "Gregorovius had given up the illusion of understanding things, but at any rate, he still wanted misunderstandings to have some sort of order, some reason about them." > 6

30 page 286: “It couldn’t be (there’s a reason for logic) that Horacio was interested and at the same time was not interested. The combination of the two things should have produced a third, something that had nothing to do with love ... something that was close to being a hunt, a search, or rather a terrible expectation, like the cat looking at the canary it cannot reach, a kind of congealing of time and day, a kind of crouching” > 15

31 page 279: “The burden is the fact that real understanding is something else. We’re satisfied with too little. When friends understand each other well, when lovers understand each other well, when families understand each other well, then we think that everything is harmonious. Pure illusion, a mirror for larks.” > 32

32 page 291: What is being compared between Pola and La Maga? There seems to be always some kind of measurement between two people, and perhaps not only of lovers. That we put them on a scale. This side, the other side, and beyond it: “a race or to a people and a language at least” > 13

33 “You’re just like Horacio,” Talita says to Traveler. And while we're at it, what is the comparison being made between La Maga and Talita, whom Horacio mistakes for the former several times? Can a person serve as a bridge to be crossed over to another person? Or is the true metaphor here a scale, and not a bridge? Or is a bridge always a type of scale? When the scale tips over, the bridge crumbles. > 11

34 It's ironic that in all their talking about literature, the Club refers to a lazy reader as a "feminine" reader. For all the blatant sexism in this novel, none of the male characters ever do anything. They talk a lot, but even an empty threat to take the sardines away from Celestin is never followed through (the most active thing done by a male character in this novel, that I can recall, is when Traveler fetches a hat for Talita from another room). It seems all they do is talk and travel (and drink maté), while the women do all the work. > 4

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Read information about the author

Ebook O Jogo da Amarelinha read Online! Julio Cortázar, born Julio Florencio Cortázar Descotte, was an Argentine author of novels and short stories. He influenced an entire generation of Latin American writers from Mexico to Argentina, and most of his best-known work was written in France, where he established himself in 1951.

Reviews of the O Jogo da Amarelinha


For those who are bored to live


My life was divided into two halves: before and after reading the book!


A book that completely overturned consciousness


Pozitivnenko, but naпve to the ugly.


The only book I read in 1 day

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