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Autonauts of the Cosmoroute

Overview

Autonauts of the Cosmoroute is a travelogue, a love story, an irreverent collection of visual and verbal snapshots. In May 1982, Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop climbed aboard Fafner, their VW camper van, and embarked on an exploration of the uncharted territory of the Paris-Marseilles freeway. It was a route they'd covered before, usually in about ten hours, but his time they loaded up with supplies and prepared for an ardous voyage of thirty-three days without leaving the autoroute. Along the way they would ...

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Overview

Autonauts of the Cosmoroute is a travelogue, a love story, an irreverent collection of visual and verbal snapshots. In May 1982, Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop climbed aboard Fafner, their VW camper van, and embarked on an exploration of the uncharted territory of the Paris-Marseilles freeway. It was a route they'd covered before, usually in about ten hours, but his time they loaded up with supplies and prepared for an ardous voyage of thirty-three days without leaving the autoroute. Along the way they would uncover the hidden side of the freeway and record The trip’s vital minutiae with light-hearted abandon. At roadside rest areas, armed with typewriters, cameras, and mutual affection, the authors composed this book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Idols invite respect, admiration, affection, and, of course, great envy. Cortázar inspired all of these feelings as very few writers can, but he inspired, above all, an emotion much rarer: devotion. He was, perhaps without trying, the Argentine who made the whole world love him. —Gabriel García Márquez

Cortázar’s last book is unexpectedly his happiest and most playful, both linguistically and with the vicissitudes of life... Every page reveals that there is no end, because the end is to go farther, to cross all boundaries. Twenty years later Anne McLean restores the joy and liberty of the original to these autonauts. And it seems to me that Cortázar and Dunlop are still there, on their freeway, alive, happy forever inside a motionless time. —Tomás Eloy Martínez

Anyone who doesn’t read Cortázar is doomed. Not to read him is a serious invisible disease, which in time can have terrible consequences. Something similar to a man who has never tasted peaches. He would quietly become sadder . . . and, probably, little by little, he would lose his hair. —Pablo Neruda

This is a special book, definitely worth reading, one that will alter your view of highways forever. —Chad W. Post

The journey undertaken by Cortázar and his wife and collaborator Carol Dunlop is quixotic in the largest sense. At one level, it is an adventure stood on its absurd head. At another, it is something graver—a mask of comedy concealing the enigma of an archaic smile. —Richard Eder, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

Richard Eder
The journey undertaken by Cortázar and his wife and collaborator Carol Dunlop is quixotic in the largest sense. At one level, it is an adventure stood on its absurd head. At another, it is something graver —a mask of comedy concealing the enigma of an archaic smile.
The Los Angeles Times Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
New translation of a whimsical 20th-century travelogue. In 1982, eminent Argentinean writer Cortázar (Hopscotch, 1963, etc.) embarked on a 33-day journey with wife Dunlop. Their plan? To travel the autoroute from Paris to Marseille, a distance usually covered in a single day, in a beloved red VW camper van nicknamed Fafner, or "Dragon." They vowed not to leave the autoroute until they reached their destination; to take advantage of motels, restaurants or gas station shops en route; and to stop twice a day, camping at every second rest stop. Supplies included books, typewriters and a camera-careful, tongue-in-cheek scientific notes were taken with the aim of completing a book by the end of their journey. The couple were anti-explorers in a mundane landscape, slowing down a journey that had been modernized and sped up. What emerges from their trip is a playful, surprisingly intimate account of a marriage in all its ranging vicissitudes. Using their private pet names for each other throughout, el Lobo (Cortázar, the wolf) and la Osita (Dunlop, little bear) invite you into their singular world of exaggerated descriptions and inside jokes with double meanings. Additionally, the authors receive imaginary visits from Polanco and Calac, characters who first appeared in Cortázar's long out-of-print 62: A Model Kit. Photographs and sketches document the voyage, a collaboration between two artists very much in love. The tenderness at the core of their relationship shines through, making it all the more heartbreaking to read the postscript written by Cortázar the following winter, which informs the reader that Dunlop succumbed to an unnamed illness mere months after they finished their journey. He died 15 months later, and what began as a romping amusement is transformed into a tribute to their passionate marriage. An astute and sensitive translation brings this charming work to light for American audiences.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780979333002
  • Publisher: Steerforth Press
  • Publication date: 11/26/2007
  • Pages: 354
  • Sales rank: 969,475
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Julio Cortázar was born in Brussels in 1914 and grew up on the outskirts of Bueno Aires. His other works include Diary of Andrés Fava, Hopscotch, Blow-Up and Other Stories, All Fires the Fire, We Love Glenda So Much, A Certain Lucas, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds and Cronopios and Famas. He died in Paris in 1984.

Anne McLean has translated works by Javier Cercas, Evelio Rosero, Juan Gabriel Vázquez, Ignacio Martínez de Pisón, Carmen Martín Gaite, Enrique Vila-Matas, and Héctor Abad, as well as Diary of Andrés Fava and From the Observatory by Julio Cortázar. She has twice won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.

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Read an Excerpt

And when the Great Khan had charged the two brothers and the baron of the embassy with the commission he was sending to the Pope, he caused to be given them a golden tablet, engraved with the royal seal and signed in the custom of his State, in virtue of which, instead of a passport, the three bearers were emissaries of the Great Khan, entitled to be everywhere con- veyed in safety through dangerous places, by the governors of provinces and cities, on pain of disgrace, throughout the whole empire, having their expenses everywhere defrayed, and should be furnished with whatever was needful for them and their attendants in all places, and for as long as they might have occasion to stay, just as if it were He himself who happened to pass that way.

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