Alfred MacAdam

Contemporary American Translator of Julio Cortázar’s FINAL EXAM

Alfred MacAdam

Alfred MacAdam

Professor MacAdam’s area of specialization is twentieth-century Latin-American narrative, a subject on which he has published three books and numerous articles. He is also a translator of Latin-American fiction and has translated novels by Julio Cortázar, Reinaldo Arenas, Alejo Carpentier, José Donoso, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Osvaldo Soriano. From 1984 to 2004, MacAdam was the editor of Review: Latin American Literature and Arts, a publication of the Americas Society. This biannual magazine presents work by Latin-American writers not yet known to English-speaking audiences as well as unknown texts by already established writers.

cover image of the book Final Exam

Final Exam

by Julio Cortázar

Translated by Alfred MacAdam

Written in 1950 (just before the fall of Perón’s government), Final Exam is Julio Cortázar’s bitter and melancholy allegorical farewell to an Argentina from which he would soon be permanently self-exiled.

In a surreal Buenos Aires, a strange fog has enveloped the city to everyone’s bewilderment. Juan and Clara, two students at a college called “The House,” meet up with their friends, and, instead of preparing for their final exam, wander the city, encountering strange happenings and pondering life in cafés. All the while, they are trailed by the mysterious Abel.

With its daring typography, shifts in rhythm, as well as wildly veering directions of thought and speech, Final Exam breaks new ground in the territory of stream-of-consciousness writing. Darkly funny—and riddled with unresolved ambiguities—Final Exam is one of Cortázar’s best works.

Author of Hopscotch and Blow-Up, Julio Cortázar’s (1914-1984) was a novelist, poet, essayist, and short-story writer. He was born in Brussels, lived in Argentina, but moved permanently to France in 1951, where he became one of the twentieth century’s major experimental writers.

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