Julio Cortázar’s House Taken Over

IMG_0677.PNG“House Taken Over” (Spanish: Casa tomada) is a 1946 short story by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar. It was originally published in Los anales de Buenos Aires, a literary magazine edited by Jorge Luis Borges, and later included in his volume of stories Bestiario.

It tells the story of a brother and sister living together in their ancestral home which is being “taken over” by unknown entities. It starts in a realist manner and it slowly introduces a scene in which natural laws are distorted.


The mystery that revolves around what those entities can be interpreted in several ways, and this also makes the genre of the story vary (fantastic, psychological, magic realism, etc.). Among the resources that are frequent in Cortázar’s story, graphic signs (such as parenthesis) are used to reflect censorship. The writer based the house on one located in the city of Chivilcoy in the Province of Buenos Aires, which can still be found in the streets Suipacha and Necochea.

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