Love on the highway
A somewhat wild and surreal adventure
Art and Literature
In 1981, Julio Cortazar wrote the story "AUTOPISTA DEL SUR", which was very well received by readers and critics. Based on this story, he tells his wife, the photographer Carol Dunlop, about the idea of an anthropological journey along the same motorway, linking Paris with Marseille. But what motivates him to make the trip is a kind of farewell: the doctors have told him that Carol's discomforts from some time ago are due to a leukaemia in its final stage; a diagnosis that she does not know. Carol willingly accepts the proposal because she knows, doctors have confessed to her, that the weakness that eats away at her husband is the last stage of a rare disease, a diagnosis he does not know. On May 24, 1982, they set off from Paris aboard a red Volkswagen kombi, named Fafner after Wagner's dragon. The dynamic of the trip is to stop at two inns per day and always spend the night at the second one. As the highway has 68 inns, the trip lasts 33 days. At each of the stops, a topographic survey of the fauna and flora, statistics on the size of the food and the temperature and quality of the coffee are carried out. In the stories, the two of them intervene with pseudonyms of Lobo and Osita and several characters from the book "62 MODELS TO ASSEMBLE", with dialogue and hilarious comments "We don't know what we are going to discover when we enter this time of camels, after so many journeys by plane, subway, train". Cortazar later adds, as he sees the fervent activity of an anthill, "Ants are like Nazis or rock and roll fans, they never come alone. Passing with the Fafner over a bridge over the Burgundy canal, he says to his wife, "I do not pretend to be the Werner Herzog of this expedition, here there are no arrows with curare and the Indians would become the French, who unintentionally stop our slow advance from north to south". The whole trip was portrayed in one of the funniest books, which, as Cortazar said, was a somewhat wild and surreal adventure, entitled "THE AUTHORS OF THE COSMOPIST". Carol Dunlop died 6 months after the trip ended and Julio Cortazar died in 1984.