Julio Cortázar, – Julio Cortázar is an Argentine novelist representing magical realism and surrealism styles of fiction. I read my first Cortázar’s short story for my class of the Spanish language literature almost a decade ago and I still remember how fascinated I was then with this author. We had a discussion in class about our interpretation of the story and almost all the students understood the short story differently. This is why I love Cortazar: his stories are open to the reader’s imagination and interpretation. Reality is not solid in Cortázar’s writing, it is always controversial, multifaceted and surreal. Cortázar’s writing shows the absurdity and nonsense of our lives and bizarre personalities. Cortázar’s stories do not deliver concrete conclusions instead they make you think about existential issues. What is the meaning of life? What is love?
Anton Chekhov – Anton Chekhov is a 19th-century Russian writer famous for short stories and plays. Chekhov’s writing is eloquent and ironic. Chekhov’s characters are inconsistent, controversial and lively. Chekhov’s stories make you laugh, cry, worry and contemplate. Chekhov’s stories will never lose relevance because they touch upon deep layers of human consciousness. His style and language are so Russian and authentic. When I miss Russia, I tend to read a short story of Chekhov as a way to remind myself of the culture, language and traditions. Chekhov’s use of idioms, colloquial terms, and metaphors is simply stunning.
Haruki Murakami – Haruki Murakami is a contemporary Japanese writer representing magical realism and the surrealism style of fiction. His short stories are always about the inner lives of characters. It is almost as if the whole story is about consciousness and self-reflexivity of the main hero. Haruki Murakami always manages to present somewhat whimsy introverted main heroes. I love Murakami’s stories because they make me feel that I am not alone in my self-reflexivity and non-mainstream conception of the world. Surprisingly, I frequently relate to some of the characters in Murakami’s stories and these stories make me question my beliefs and habits. Murakami novels show that he is a great listener and observer of the world around him. His stories always leave a piece of tasty cake to the reader to contemplate and figure out. What is the birthday wish of a woman in the “Birthday girl” story? Is it to become happy or to find meaning in life? What do you think?