Las armas secretas [The secret weapons]


Not to sound like I’m complaining – because even if I am, I don’t truly mean it – but I’ve been quite busy lately. Work, then stuff to do after work (unfortunately, not only of the “entertainment” variety) – and pretty much every day ended with me taking a quick shower and then falling asleep 10 minutes into a random West Wing episode. Every day – except today, when I don’t know what to do with sooo much time on my hands ๐Ÿ˜€ So I’m back here, writing about a book I finished a few days ago: The Secret Weapons. I only got it recently and then I saw Alin’s review, so I got curious.

Turns out, my curiosity was well rewarded: it wasn’t just interesting, it was great. It contains 5 short stories, combining so subtly the real and the imaginary that you never really know where you’re standing or when you’ve gone to “the other side”. The ordinariness in which they all seem to begin is treacherous, and the plain language Mr. Cortazar uses even more so – but what you’re left with, in the end, is the pure joy. I really have to get another book by him ๐Ÿ˜€

I guess, out of the 5, most people favoured either The Droolings of the Devil (which was the inspiration for Antonioni’s film Blowup and this gave me the push I needed to finally see the movie) or The Pursuer – which is apparently an homage to Charlie Parker, but which didn’t quite touch me (possibly because I’m not exactly interested in jazz). Me, I’d go with Letters from Mom as a favourite – for the carefully constructed atmosphere of routine and the one hit from far away it needed to shatter. It’s about a couple fighting guilt every day (she was engaged to his brother who died, but not before they both betrayed his trust) and a mother living a thousand miles away who, while giving the impression of descending into dementia, seems to want to constantly feed their guilt, their fear, their inadequacy.


~ by ameer on July 9, 2009.

7 Responses to “Las armas secretas [The secret weapons]”

  1. well, macar mi-a citit si mie cineva postul. ma bucur ca ti-au placut – daca vrei sa citesti alte povestiri, incearca Toate focurile, focul….daca vrei ceva mai mult, ti-am spus, vezi romanul – Sotron ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Definitely – cred ca si povestirile si romanul. Thanks ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Toate povestirile lui Cortazar sint superbe ๐Ÿ™‚ Preferatele mele sint “Continuitatea parcurilor”, “Funigei” (superb titlu – imi place cum suna mai mult pe romaneste decit in engleza) si “Instructiuni pentru John Howel”.

    Cit despre filmul lui Antonioni, Blowup, e nitel diferit de povestire. Desi pastreaza esenta, ii scapa nuante..sau poate ca le-a exclus cu buna stiinta. A adaugat altele noi, in schimb, insa nu stiu cit de fericit.

  4. Definitely Funigei suna mult mai bine in romana. De fapt, in engleza chiar suna nasol de tot (si asta e o ceva ce zic foarte rar ๐Ÿ˜€ ).
    Blowup l’am pus pe lista “de vazut”, lista care creste invers proportional cu cheful si rabdarea mea pentru filme. Dar Cortazar chiar a fost o revalatie pentru mine – cred ca prima pe anul asta – asa ca, at the end of the day, sunt foarte incantata ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Ia te uita, cine-a venit in fan-clubul Cortazar ๐Ÿ™‚ Si eu ti-as recomanda versiunea in romana in locul celei in engleza, e mai apropiata (in spirit) de original. Cortazar in engleza suna un pic artificial, si asta nu din vina traducatorilor.

    Daca tot sintem la capitolul recomandari: Axolotl, Insula la amiaza si alte citeva (mai multe) al caror titlu nu-l mai retin exact din volumul Manuscris gasit intr-un buzunar (include si povestirile Funigei si Scrisori de la mama) si Autostrada din Sud, Domnisoara Cora, Instructiuni pentru John Howell, Celalalt cer si povestirea omonima din vol. Toate focurile, focul.

  6. Wow, ok, you really are a big fan. For sure o sa mai incerc din ele (mai ales ca nu cred sa mai fi vazut atata entuziasm la tine ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
    (L’am citit in romana (ca si destul de multe alte carti despre care am mai scris) dar fiind situl in engleza… ๐Ÿ˜€ )

  7. […] And there really are more great stories (sure, others not-so-great) but Iโ€™d rather not to recaps for all.ย  My personal highlights would be Circe, Despuรฉs del Almuerzo, Axolot or Regarding the Eradication of Crocodiles from Auvergne (funnily enough, I couldnโ€™t find the Spanish title for this). The devilโ€™s drooling and Letters from mom are also included here, but Iโ€™ve written of them before. […]

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