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62: A MODEL KIT

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JULIO-CORTAZAR_62-A-MODEL-KIT1000

JULIO-CORTAZAR_62-A-MODEL-KIT300The book revolves around an introspective group of friends who call themselves the Tartars. The intellectual boredom of the group has led them to invent various social experimental and mental diversions, the most important of which is referred to as “the City.” The city is a kind of imaginary metropolis the Tartars have built over time as a possible alternative to the normal world in which they feel so stifled. There is also a being referred to as “my paredros,” the spirit or collective will of the group that acts through one member or another when they are at their most playful.

| Julio Cortázar | WIKIPEDIA |

The book concludes with most of the Tartars returning to Paris by train. A distracted Nicole wanders off at the wrong stop and finds herself in the city, by a canal. Celia and Austin also get off, ostensibly to look at cows. In the gloomy train car, Juan sits across from Helene and tries to talk to her, but realizes that nothing has changed. The other Tartars have gotten off to look for Nicole, whom they presume is walking alone along the tracks towards Paris. Helene, unaccountably back in the mysterious city, opens a door in a hotel and walks into a dark room where Austin jumps out and stabs her to death. Juan, following, leans over the body a moment before exiting the room through a door that opens directly onto the canal—where he sees Nicole on a barge with the sinister Frau Marta. The last sentences of the book describe the remaining Tartars in a jocular group again, resuming their play at the train station in Paris.

62: A Model Kit doesn’t have a main character, being occupied instead by characters of varying importance to the plot. These include Marrast, a sculptor, Juan, a translator or interpreter, Helene, an anesthetist living in Paris, Calac, a writer from Argentina, and Celia and Austin, who are students. Other Tartars include Tell, Polanco, Nicole, Feuille Morte, and Osvaldo, who is actually a pet snail. Characters of minor importance include Frau Marta, Polanco’s girlfriend, and Señora Cinnamomo, who is a witness to the festivities of the Tartars on several occasions. None of the main characters are given proper last names by Cortázar, while a few of the lesser ones do have one, such as the director of the art museum, Harold Harroldson. Some characters are referred to but never actually appear in the narrative, like “the countess” and Monsieur Ochs.

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september 10th, 2013 at 8:00 am