Through My Eyes: Hopscotch


Edwin Hammond, Staff Writer

They were a group of friends who shared a commonality in that it was better to be in company than alone, but never in understanding.  I had a muse who blinded me of all flaws and cynicism in the world.  And everything occurred so quickly.  I found myself alone again as fast as I found myself surrounded, I needed to dive into detective work.  To discover the people I was surrounded by and the person I looked up to.  My own La Maga was missing.


Julio Cortazar’s novel, Hopscotch is one of the most relatable works I have read in a long time.  While being an academic study with its postmodern elements, such as the frame story, the narrator’s closeness to the reader, and most prominently, the reading guide at the start of the novel, it explores all this and the biggest insecurities in the human condition.


The plot is that our narrator, Horacio Oliveira, is in Paris, without his mistress, La Maga.  He surrounds himself with a group of bohemians who discuss the biggest intellectual drivel that I have grown to despise, and Horacio probably has as well, named the Serpent Club.  However amidst this group of pseudo-intellectuals, La Maga is anything but.  She is a mother who carelessly weaves through life.  She has affairs, reads dime-store novels for pure entertainment, and despises the debates Horacio and the other members of the Club engross themselves in.


La Maga is the type of person I always find myself attracted to.  Someone blissfully unaware of the motifs of Dostoevsky or existential philosophy, but nevertheless lives by their own philosophy, without the intellectual approval of schools of thought, or our most pretentious peers.


As Horacio goes throughout Paris, and even spends part of the novel back in his and Cortazar’s home, Argentina, he pieces together entries in journals and various memories of dates and events.  A process that Cortazar beautifully describes which I find anyone who has been broken up with, had their heartbroken, or had an enamoration fall through, will greatly relate to.


This is what I love about Hopscotch.  It is so down-to-earth while also being bourgeois and bohemian, it is relatable yet a look at how the other half lives; it is so close but so far to my life today.  There is not enough praise I can give this work.  It is the perfect breakup cure and will quench the throats of anyone who enjoys the weight of classics’ messages but cannot bare the insufferable prose.  Just read it, and you may find yourself in the missing pieces of the story’s puzzle.