Julio Cortázar: Los premios (The Winners)
The Malcolm is carrying the winners of a mysterious lottery. They were escorted from a meeting point in darkness to the ship and do not know where they are going. The passengers, who come from all walks of life, can only use one half of the ship because, they are told, a strange disease has broken out among the crew and the rest of the ship is to be quarantined. The ship is stationary and the passengers must decide what to do. To a great extent that is what the novel is about – how the different passengers react to the situation in different ways. But Cortázar is also interested in what lies beyond and the mystery of what is actually in the other part of the ship and whether it is simply the crew in quarantine intrigues Cortázar, the passengers and, of course, us. But somehow there is too much talking and, at least for me, it does not quite come off.
First published in Spanish by Editorial Sudamericana 1960
First published in English by Pantheon Books 1965
Translated by Elaine Kerrigan