Libro de Manuel / A Manual for Manuel
Novel , 1973
A Manual for Manuel is about the kidnapping of a Latin American diplomat by a group of strange guerrillas in Paris. It has two narrators. One is one of the guerrillas, jokingly referred to as “you know who,” who takes notes on the assault plans. The other is Andrés, who is indecisive about joining the group and who uncovers the plot of the novel by reading those plans. The articles that interrupt the plot are from actual French and Latin American newspapers. These articles concern individual protests against the torture of political prisoners in such countries as Brazil, Argentina, and...
A Manual for Manuel is Julio Cortázar’s great political novel, a controversial synthesis of his aesthetic quests and interest in the revolutionary movements of those years. It can be read as a natural displacement of the characters and themes from Hopscotch toward the urges and fervour of a tumultuous world. But it retains all the fantasy, aplomb and freshness of that novel, which have made Cortázar a unique and incomparable writer on the 20th-century literary scene.