Turning 50


This week, Rayuela turned 50 years old. On June 28 1963, Julio Cortázar’s Rayuela (Hopscotch in the English translation) was released at bookstores in Buenos Aires.

When I finished reading Rayuela (as long as you can ever finish reading it at all), I understood that my destiny was the same as Borges’ Pierre Menard‘s, even though at that time I could not formulate it properly, among other things because on my own “Table of Instructions” for life’s expendable chapters, Borges came after Cortázar. Then I realized that we all face the same fate as Pierre Menard, and that only true visionaries are able to circumvent the tortuous path which imply reproducing a previously existing work or life. The greater the number of stories and memories that are available to us, the more titanic are both the challenge and the task at hand.

La rayuela se juega con una piedrita que hay que empujar con la punta del zapato. Ingredientes: una acera, una piedrita, un zapato, y un bello dibujo con tiza, preferentemente de colores. En lo alto está el Cielo, abajo está la Tierra, es muy difícil llegar con la piedrita al Cielo, casi siempre se calcula mal y la piedra sale del dibujo. Poco a poco, sin embargo, se va adquiriendo la habilidad necesaria para salvar las diferentes casillas (rayuela caracol, rayuela rectangular, rayuela de fantasía, poco usada) y un día se aprende a salir de la Tierra y remontar la piedrita hasta el Cielo, hasta entrar en el Cielo (Julio Cortázar, “Rayuela“)

Hopscoth is played with a pebble that you move with the tip of your toe. The things you need: a sidewalk, a pebble, a toe, and a beautiful drawing with chalk, preferably in colors. On top is Heaven, on the bottom is Earth, it’s very hard to get the pebble up to Heaven, you almost always miscalculate and the stone goes off the drawing. But little by little you start to get the knack of how to jump over the different squares (spiral hopscoth, rectangular hopscoth, fantasy hopscoth, no played very often) and then one day you learn how to leave Earth and make the pebble climb up into Heaven. (Julio Cortázar, “Hopscotch“, translated from Spanish by Gregory Rabassa)


Julio-Cortazar-Sabat_CLAIMA20130523_0177_14Featured Image: Julio Cortázar by Hermenegildo SábatRayuela @ Clarin.com


  1. My 50’s have been the best time of my life. I am 57 now and I just retired, I’m secure financially, and I’m old enough to know what I am doing in life now! Happy 50th Rayuela!

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