Julio Cortázar, the author of “Bestiary,” is an Argentine writer who’s not really that much from Argentina, known for the novel Hopscotch and the story “Blow-Up,” that latter having inspired Michelangelo Antonioni’s famous film of the same name. “Bestiary” is one of many stories collected in The Art of the Tale, edited by Daniel Halpern.
The “Bestiary” narrates pre-adolescent Isabel’s summer vacation with her cousin Nino and his father and several others of unclear relation. And a tiger that lives on the grounds of the estate. Moving from one part of the estate to another requires continually knowing where the tiger is.
There are no scenes in this story that describe watching the tiger as it stalks through this or that area. In fact, its existence is wholly circumscribed to the second hand. Similarly, there are indications of tension between the Kid and Rema. These characters are both adults. Rema is a female and it’s not clear if she is Luis’ wife. Luis is Nino’s father. The Kid is a man with a bad attitude. And a strange name.
Eventually the tension is resolved in some horror.