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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

     

Diary of Andrés Fava

by
Julio Cortázar


general information | review summaries | our review | links | about the author

To purchase Diary of Andrés Fava



Title: Diary of Andrés Fava
Author: Julio Cortázar
Genre: Fiction
Written: (1950) (Eng. 2005)
Length: 102 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: Diary of Andrés Fava - US
Diario de Andrés Fava - US
Diary of Andrés Fava - UK
Diary of Andrés Fava - Canada
Diary of Andrés Fava - India
Journal d'Andrés Fava - France
Andrés Favas Tagebuch - Deutschland
Diario di Andrés Fava - Italia
  • Spanish title: Diario de Andrés Fava
  • First published in 1995
  • Translated by Anne McLean

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Our Assessment:

B : appealing incidental piece

See our review for fuller assessment.




Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
The NY Times Book Rev. . 5/6/2005 Anderson Tepper
Rev. of Contemp. Fiction . Summer/2005 Chad W. Post


  From the Reviews:
  • "(T)he text offers a whirlwind voyage through Cortazar's mind." - Anderson Tepper, The New York Times Book Review

  • "There’s no real plot, but that’s beside the point. What’s interesting about this book is the way it constructs a character behind these diverse observations and sentiments. In a way it’s odd; the varied tone and similar elements make it seem as if this were Cortázar’s diary, which in a way demonstrates the effectiveness of the writing." - Chad W. Post, Review of Contemporary Fiction

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Diary of Andrés Fava was written at the same time as Cortázar's Final Exam, in which Andrés Fava is one of the major figures. Cortazar left the diary out of Final Exam, but it's a neat complementary text to the novel.
       The diary is less another account of the events in the novel; instead, it provides a different picture of Fava and his preoccupations. Various literary interests and ideas predominate, and as a Cortazar-alter ego Fava's musings more obviously reflect Cortazar's own (as is also demonstrated by the fact that some of this material prefigures later work by Cortázar).
       There's some sense of the budding writer -- once in awe of the local literary scene, now comfortably a part of it -- though he is very much still a writer trying to find his way. Sartre is perhaps the major influence, but Fava's interests range far and wide. The short, dense diary offers glimpses and flashes rather than in-depth commentary, but gives a good sense of Cortázar's interests and influences. The longer sections do, however, leave one wishing for more: ripping apart Hesse's Demian over two pages, one wishes more of the books and incidents in Fava's life were similarly examined.
       Fava's exuberance and romanticism (of sorts) have some appeal. If uncertain of the reasons and unable to always explain with precision (though this is part of what he struggles to get at), he at least feels strongly: "Physical impossibility of listening to Chopin. Disgust. Revulsion."
       There's quite a bit of the usual (young-)writer-concerns. Occasionally he's still circumspect, the questions and ideas banal in their familiarity:

     What I should study is whether, when I've found the right road, what's actually happened is that I've lost all the rest.
       But mulling it over, considering variations on the theme, he eventually gets more energetic (and convincing):
     Write the novel of nothing. Let everything play out in such a way that the reader senses that the horrible theme of the work is that of not having one.
     Show the most secret (although today it appears in public) of human suspicions: that of their intrinsic, inherent futility.
     Insinuate that the religion of the work (in its highest values: art, poetry) is also sport. Thump hypocrisies.
       From Sartor Resartus ("no longer tolerable") to thoughts on epigraphs, there's a good deal stuffed into this diary, much of it stray stuff. It doesn't make for a cohesive whole -- or much of a narrative arc -- but it's lively and interesting enough to hold one's attention. And at least he doesn't take himself too seriously, summing up fairly accurately:
     What's this, Andrés ? You, always so careful, so dressy, so Aristotelian. The fog, Andrés, the fog ?
       Diary of Andrés Fava is a small, incidental work, more writers-journal than actual fiction, but it is certainly of interest to any Cortázar-fan, and even those not familiar with him (or even Final Exam) can enjoy it.

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Links:

Diary of Andrés Fava: Reviews: Julio Cortázar: Other books by Julio Cortázar under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Argentinian author Julio Cortázar (1914-1984) was born in Brussels, and lived in France from 1951 onwards. He is the author of numerous acclaimed experimental works.

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