20 November 2011

"How not to remember the layout of that house."

How not to remember the layout of that house. The dinning room, a living room with tapestries, the library, and three large bedrooms in the section most recessed, the one that faced toward Rodriguez Pena. Only a corridor with its massive oak door separated that part from the front wing, where there was a bath, the kitchen, our bedrooms and the hall. One entered the house through a vestibule with enameled tiles, and a wrought-iron gated door opened onto the living room. You had to come in through the vestibule and open the gate to go into the living room; the doors to our bedrooms were on either side of this, and opposite was the corridor leading to the back section; going down the passage, one swung open the oak door beyond which was the other part of the house; or just be­fore the door, one could turn to the left and go down a narrower passageway which led to the kitchen and the bath. When the door was open, you became aware of the size of the house; when it was closed, you had the impression of an apartment, like the ones they build today, with barely enough room to move around in. Irene and I always lived in this part of the house and hardly ever went beyond the oak door except to do the cleaning. Incredible how much dust collected on the furniture. It may be Buenos Aires is a clean city, but she owes it to her population and nothing else. There's too much dust in the air, the slightest breeze and it's back on the marble console tops and in the diamond patterns of the tooled-leather desk set. It's a lot of work to get it off with a feather duster; the motes rise and hang in the air, and settle again a minute later on the pianos and the furniture.

– Julio Cortázar, from "House Taken Over", trans. Paul Blackburn


  1. When a house impacts you, it is hard to forget. That happened to me once with an apartment in buenos aires I had rented there. The living room area was so perfect I never forgot it!

  2. *spam comments are sometimes amusing*