Los ídolos infunden respeto, admiración y cariño,

y, por supuesto, grandes envidias.

Cortázar inspiraba todos esos sentimientos

como muy pocos escritores,

pero inspiraba además otro menos frecuente: la devoción


Gabriel García Márquez




This paper is an analysis of “A certain Lucas” [“Un tal Lucas”]. Two big dimensions are analyzed. The first one is the narratological elements which articulate the structural unit of the text. The second one consists of the significant practices the author set by creating a text which is centered in a rather fatuous character.

The method analysis method is textual-semiotic interpretative and documentary analysis. Then, an interpretative model of our own was elaborated.

(i) The traditional definition of pause is questioned, for the action is split into tiny fragments. Slowing the narration’s pace even more seems unnecessary, for it stops somehow from time to time; however, there is indeed a narration, and it tells us something about the protagonist’s thoughts. And (ii) The traditional diegetic categories are also questioned by Cortázar. It is very hard to tell when the narrator is Lucas, Cortázar himself or nobody, as it happens in some excerpts. We propose the term zero diegetic narration in order to designate such episodes.

The conclusion is this. The novel is deeply innovative from the narrative point of view, for it controverts secular notions within the Western story telling tradition. Firstly, Cortázar proves that even the most minute events also contribute to set the character’s world. Hence, they are not meaningless. Secondly, Cortázar deliberately confuses some key traditional categories, such as writer/narrator, and reader/narratee, which gives the novel a playful and humorous mood. Therefore, it seems that some aspects of narrative theory should be reexamined in light of Cortázar’s experiment


Key words:  post modernity, narratology, suburbs.