“La Noche Boca Arriba” (“The Night Face Up”) by Julio Cortazar
When I first read this story—for a Spanish class in college—it knocked my socks off. And whenever I revisit it, I continue to be awed. I’ve already foisted it on people in the real world, and today I’m foisting it on the blogosphere (a word which, oddly, reminds me these days of the unpleasant word “Blagojevich.” Eee-oooo. Didn’t mean to go there.)
I’m tempted to tell you the story, but that defeats the whole purpose. I’ll say simply this: The story is about a man who is taken to the emergency room of a hospital following a motorcycle accident. While in the hospital, he periodically lapses into a terrible nightmare in which he is a warrior in ancient times.
Here’s the beauty of it: This story is quick to read (only 10 pages long), and it packs a punch. So, if you like a whopping good story, succinctly told, please dash to your library straightaway. This story is fairly easy to find; it appears in Cortazar’s own collection Blow-Up and Other Stories, plus it’s been anthologized all over creation. And—it’s available in Spanish online!