In its characters, themes, and preoccupations, Final Exam prefigures Cortazar's later fictions, including Blow-Up and his masterpiece, Hopscotch. Written in 1950 (just before the fall of Peron's government), it is Cortazar's allegorical, bitter, and melancholy farewell to an Argentina from which he was about to be permanently self-exiled. (Cortazar moved to Paris the following year.) The setting of Final Exam is a surreal Buenos Aires, dark and eerie, where a strange fog has enveloped the city to everyone's bewilderment. Juan and Clara, two students, meet up with their friends Andres and Stella, as well as a journalist friend they call "the chronicler." Juan and Clara are getting ready to take their final exams, but instead of preparing, they wander the city with their friends, encounter strange happenings in the squares and ponder life in cafes. All the while, they are trailed by the mysterious Abel. With its daring typography, its shifts in rhythm as well as in the wildly veering directions of its characters' thoughts and speech, Final Exam breaks new ground in the territory of stream-of-consciousness narrative techniques. It is considered one of Cortazar's best works.
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(193mm x 127mm x 17mm)
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
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Author Biography - Julio Cortazar
Julio Cortazar (1914-1984), Argentine novelist, poet, essayist, and short-story writer, was born in Brussels, and moved permanently to France in 1951. Cortazar is now recognized as one of the century's major experimental writers, reflecting the influence of French surrealism, psychoanalysis, and his love of both photography and jazz, along with his strong commitment to revolutionary Latin American politics. Professor MacAdam's area of specialization is twentieth-century Latin-American narrative, a subject on which he has published three books and numerous articles. He is also a translator of Latin-American fiction and has translated novels by Julio Cortazar, Reinaldo Arenas, Alejo Carpentier, Jose Donoso, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Osvaldo Soriano. From 1984 to 2004, MacAdam was the editor of Review: Latin American Literature and Arts, a publication of the Americas Society. This biannual magazine presents work by Latin-American writers not yet known to English-speaking audiences as well as unknown texts by already established writers.