Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Now I am an axolotl
This has nothing to do with Jakarta, tsunamis, tropical islands, or anything Indonesian, but the other day Chad reminded me of my favorite short story, by the Argentinian writer Julio Cortazar, and now I am compelled to share it.
What I love most is the third sentence. It's so bold and careless, as if Cortazar were saying: yes, this story is based on a startling transformation, but I'm just going to toss it out casually here at the top because it gets even better from there. Like a magician showing you how he does his trick, and then doing it so well you're seduced all over again.
I went around for months last year saying "Now I am an axolotl," mostly to Chad, who was very patient about it.
Cortazar has another story I love, about fear and longing and regret, called House Taken Over. It's well worth finding if you haven't read it but the only version I came across on the net has tiny, tiny print and a weird phrasing in the last line, so perhaps it's better to go to a bookstore. You can read the whole thing and slip it back onto the shelf before you finish your $5 mocha frappucino.