Books: Free-Floating Levity

CRONOPIOS AND FAMAS by Julio Cortazar. 161 pages. Random House. $4.95.

While Vishnu dreams, says the Hindu, the world is born. Private dreams are subcontracted out of this cosmic snooze with the understanding that when Vishnu wakens, all subordinate dreamers will be rubbed out like morning eyecrust.

Until that dawn of destruction, the best advice is to go merrily, merrily. For "the deepest insights sometimes emerge from a joke, a gag, or a slap in the face," says Argentina's Julio Cortazar, author of the highly praised fantasy-novel Hopscotch and of Blow-Up, the short story...

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