An astute and sensitive translation brings this charming work to light for American audiences.

AUTONAUTS OF THE COSMOROUTE

A TIMELESS VOYAGE FROM PARIS TO MARSEILLES

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.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-9793330-0-2

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Archipelago

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2007

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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