AUTHOR: Text by Jesus Marchamalo, with illustrations by Marc Torices
PUBLISHER: Nórdica Libros
GENRE: Graphic Novel
READER’S NAME: Adan Griego
DATE: : April 16, 2018
Argentina’s Julio Cortazar towers above the Latin American literary landscape, both figuratively as an accomplished author, and literarily as a very tall man. When asked about his height in a 1977 interview for National Spanish Television, the author of Rayuela (Hopscotch) and one of the leading figures of the Latin American literary boom made it clear: it was 1.93 meters, over six feet.
This visual narrative is a masterful joint project with a veteran writer-journalist and a young illustrator almost four years in the making. They weave many details from that iconic television interview in a profusely illustrated biography: Cortázar’s accidental birth in Belgium as invading German troops approached in 1914; his childhood in Banfield in the outskirts of Buenos Aires when he was already writing poems; his trajectory from a geography school teacher to a college professor of French literature in the interior of Argentina.
The graphic novel brings to life many other aspects about Cortázar, both the writer and the everyday man, all in a simple yet visually stunning language. Amusing anecdotes of Jorge Luis Borges, Jose Lezama Lima, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Carlos Fuentes alternate with those about the man with a passion for jazz and boxing, and an enduring support the Cuban and Sandinista revolutions. The story would not be complete without the presence of the women who loved and nurtured him.
More than thirty years after his death Cortázar continues to attract audiences not only in Spanish. An overview of the Worldcat union catalogue includes English translations of his works reprinted as recently as 2017 and 2016. This graphic novel brings a poetic narrative accessible to a general audience and can engage new readers, not just academic specialists.