Short Story Of the Day, The Island at Noon by Julio Cortazar

The island was visible for a few minutes, but the air was always so clean, and it was outlined by the sea with such a minute cruelty that the smallest details were implacably adjusted to the memory of the preceding flight: the green spot of the headland to the north, the lead-grey houses, the nets drying on the sand. When the nets weren’t there, Marini felt as if he had been robbed, insulted.

—-Julio Cortazar, The Island at Noon

Reflecting pool, Art District, Dallas, Texas

I have flown in airplanes often for well over a half-century. But still, even now, I act like a curious little kid in that I like to sit in a window seat and stare out at the land passing beneath. I always wonder exactly where we are. When we cross the center of the country  I look at the shape of lakes, try and memorize them, so I can look them up on maps. I look for well-known rivers, and highways. If we go over the Rockies I look for familiar peaks. When we cross the ocean, like the protagonist of today’s story, I look for islands – again, memorizing their shape.

My favorite thing is to spot someplace I have been before, that I recognize, and that I enjoy seeing from a new, unique, angle. It makes me happy.

Read today’s story here:

The Island at Noon, by Julio Cortazar

from Electric Literature

2 responses to “Short Story Of the Day, The Island at Noon by Julio Cortazar

  1. Thank you Bill for posting the link to The Island at Noon. Like you and Marini I am glued to the window when flying, day dreaming about visiting the places below. I loved the mystique of the island and the visit (the plane crash was unnecessary imho).


    • Thanks for the comment – this was one of my favorites that I’ve stumbled across recently – not surprising given that he is such a renowned author. I agree about the crash – except remember Julio Cortazar is a “magic realist” writer – working in Spanish. The plane crash is the sort of odd and miraculous event common in that style of writing. Up to that point, the story is very realistic, but not much magic. In the end I like that weirdness but it is jarring sometimes.

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