Books: Pendulum Left

A MANUAL FOR MANUEL

by Julio Cortázar

Pantheon; 389 pages; $10.95

Argentina is a country rich in every thing but stability. The nation has been so cursed by bloody political convulsions that its own best people have pro nounced their homeland incurable. Julio Cortázar's novel, A Manual for Manuel, is one Argentine expatriate's eccentric response to violence in his country (and to some extent Uruguay and Brazil) in the early 1970s. Cortzar, who has lived in Paris for some decades, writes in a surreal fashion. The effects can be dazzling — as in All Fires the Fire and Other Stories of...

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