8 years after i read this book, i finally understand why i didn’t like it.
apparently, this is an “either/or book,” but i read it as an “and then” book.
dr. wikipedia claims:
An author’s note suggests that the book would best be read in one of two possible ways, either progressively from chapters 1 to 56 or by “hopscotching” through the entire set of 155 chapters according to a “Table of Instructions” designated by the author. Cortázar also leaves the reader the option of choosing a unique path through the narrative.
WHERE WAS THAT AUTHOR’S NOTE WHEN I READ THIS BOOK??
because i read the whole 600 page book front-to-back the way one does, AND THEN i went back and hopscotched through it, thinking that there would be some secret doorway that opened or something that would illuminate why i was doing this second pass. but there’s no doorway—spoiler alert. and i resented that i seemed to be reading the whole fucking book again for no fucking reason, and i was so baffled about why people seemed to value this book so much when, to me, it just seemed like an elaborate nose-thumbing time wasting prank. and i assumed that people liked it because they were trying to be all douchey-elitist and pretending to like something just because it was difficult or challenging or whatever, and they cherished their shiny gold star for enduring the tedium of repetition. but it’s not difficult. it’s a playful and lyrical schtick if you only have to read it through once, whichever way you choose. but reading it twice, back-to-back, just with the scenes all shuffled in a different order is not something i recommend because it will just be infuriating and you will howl: “dude, i KNOW!!!! WE JUST COVERED THIS!!!! WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME THE SAME SHIT ALL OVER AGAIN, FORGETFUL GRANDPA????”
and afterward, all you will remember is the howling, and not the reading. so there—that’s my explanation/discovery/psa