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A Review of Diary of Andrés Fava from Stephen Kessler in The Redwood Coast Review


Noted above as one of the foremost exponents of the long novel for his astonishing Hopscotch, the Argentine Cortázar (1914-1984) is also a master of the short story, and of other brief proses that defy category. Andres Fava’s Diary is a kind of appendix to Cortázar’s earliest, but posthumously published, novel, Final Exam. Fava being one to that book’s main characters, a young writer who bears, in sensibility, a remarkable resemblance to his author. These journal entries, jottings, philosophical doodles, sketches, dream narratives and brief essays reveal the lively mind of the developing artist in the act of creating himself. While Final Exam throws considerable light on Fava’s character, showing his social interaction with a small circle of friends in mid-century bohemian Buenos Aires, the Diary is a delight unto itself in its exposure of the young Cortázar as a work in progress, thinking about everything, talking to himself, searching for the voice to serve his art, visiting the realm between waking and sleeping, reaching into childhood for clues to the roots of imagination: “A low, white, translucent sky, so hard up against me that if I turn my head I feel it in the my hair, in my ears. It’s not the sky, it’s the sheet on my summer bed. I’m ten years old and traveling inside my bed.” The light touch of Anne McLean’s translation catches Cortázar’s tone and wit with exquisite precision.

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