‘Axolotl’ by Julio Cortázar, translated by Paul Blackburn

Where is your narrator? A simple enough question, the narrator has to be somewhere.  But it’s something that, as a beginning writer, is easy to forget until you’re halfway through a story, or a chapter, and you’re left wondering why your story is proving so unwieldy. In this short piece Cortázar achieves a seamless shift in perspective, while the narrator remains constant, one mind to another mind. Some technical dexterity is required to get this right, and he gets it so right, all the way penetrating into this existential question, the “diaphanous interior mystery” of consciousness. 

First published in Spanish in Litereria, 1952 and collected in Final del Juego. First published in English in End of the Game, Pantheon, 1967 and collected in Blow Up And Other Stories, Pantheon, 1985

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