Autonauts of the Cosmoroute
Publication Date: November 26, 2007
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Autonauts of the Cosmoroute is a travelogue, a love story, an irreverent collection of visual and verbal snapshots. In May 1982, Julio Cortázar and Carol Dunlop climbed aboard Fafner, their VW camper van, and embarked on an exploration of the uncharted territory of the Paris-Marseilles freeway. It was a route they¢d covered before, usually in about ten hours, but his time they loaded up with supplies and prepared for an ardous voyage of thirty-three days without leaving the autoroute. Along the way they would uncover the hidden side of the freeway and record The trip’s vital minutiae with light-hearted abandon. At roadside rest areas, armed with typewriters, cameras, and mutual affection, the authors composed this book.
Julio Cortázar was born in Brussels in 1914 and grew up on the outskirts of Bueno Aires. His other works include Diary of Andrés Fava, Hopscotch, Blow-Up and Other Stories, All Fires the Fire, We Love Glenda So Much, A Certain Lucas, Around the Day in Eighty Worlds and Cronopios and Famas. He died in Paris in 1984.
Anne McLean has translated works by Javier Cercas, Evelio Rosero, Juan Gabriel Vázquez, Ignacio Martínez de Pisón, Carmen Martín Gaite, Enrique Vila-Matas, and Héctor Abad, as well as Diary of Andrés Fava and From the Observatory by Julio Cortázar. She has twice won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize.
Idols invite respect, admiration, affection, and, of course, great envy. Cortázar inspired all of these feelings as very few writers can, but he inspired, above all, an emotion much rarer: devotion. He was, perhaps without trying, the Argentine who made the whole world love him. —Gabriel García Márquez
Cortázar’s last book is unexpectedly his happiest and most playful, both linguistically and with the vicissitudes of life... Every page reveals that there is no end, because the end is to go farther, to cross all boundaries. Twenty years later Anne McLean restores the joy and liberty of the original to these autonauts. And it seems to me that Cortázar and Dunlop are still there, on their freeway, alive, happy forever inside a motionless time. —Tomás Eloy Martínez
Anyone who doesn’t read Cortázar is doomed. Not to read him is a serious invisible disease, which in time can have terrible consequences. Something similar to a man who has never tasted peaches. He would quietly become sadder . . . and, probably, little by little, he would lose his hair. —Pablo Neruda
This is a special book, definitely worth reading, one that will alter your view of highways forever. —Chad W. Post
The journey undertaken by Cortázar and his wife and collaborator Carol Dunlop is quixotic in the largest sense. At one level, it is an adventure stood on its absurd head. At another, it is something graver—a mask of comedy concealing the enigma of an archaic smile. —Richard Eder, The Los Angeles Times Book Review