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El Libro de Arena (Ancora y Delfin) (Spanish) Hardcover – May 2007


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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
El Argumento Imposible 14 April 2001
By Juan Carlos Rodriguez C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"El Libro de Arena" nos presenta a Borges en todo su esplendor, como cuentista de una imaginación extraordinaria y un control magistral sobre el lenguaje y los argumentos. Estos ultimos usualmente tan retorcidos y sofisticados que podrìan compararse, en intensidad y sofisticación mental, a un estilo platonico de encrucijadas filosoficas o al famoso metodo-critico paranoico de Dali.
Este compendio parece ser la continuacion obligada y obvia de "Artificios". En ambos libros, Borges utiliza su maestria literaria- acaso tambien academica e intelectual -para plasmar diferentes tópicos como la fragmentación del tiempo como vehículo para autocontemplarse en asincronía ("El otro"), el enigma que encierra la idea una sola palabra omipotente ("Undr" y "El Espejo"), objetos inconcebibles y misticos ("El disco" y "El Libro de Arena"), el misterio de una Secta intangible y eterna ("La secta de los treinta"), o la utopía de una empresa que solamente puede cumplir su objetivo mediante su disolución ("El Congreso").
En cada cuento, la pluma de Borges esta presente, inigualable, inconfundible, incisiva... La tensión y la resolución de las tramas reciben el distintivo toque borgeano; ese toque magico que nos sorprende, nos confunde, nos asombra a cada instante.
En suma, "El Libro de Arena" es un libro indispensable para todo lector avido de fantasias y enigmas, retos e incognitas... pero escrito con el distintivo genio de Borges que con una precision casi epigramatica, elabora cada cuento con la diligencia y constancia de un albañil, así como con la precisión y planeamiento de un arquitecto. El poeta Borges, asoma solo subrepticiamente ("Ulrica"), endulzando esta monumental obra y llevándola a un climáx de literatura.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A present for a student 12 Feb 2014
By LaCuerva - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A Spanish student of mine said she didn't want to read "kiddy" books. She already speaks three languages fluently, so I understand why she wants more advanced books.
I think "Libro de arena" is probably the best Borges book for her level. It certainly isn't a "kiddy" book (none of Borges is), but stories like "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbius Tertius" or utterly Argentine stories would be beyond her level. I'll have to find out if this hit the spot.
I've always liked this collection.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Rather second-rate Borges, but even second-rate Borges has its appeal 25 Jun 2014
By Christopher Culver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"El libro de arena" ("The Book of Sand") is a 1975 collection of short stories by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. While Borges had made his name in the 1940s with the stories that would go into Ficciones, this collection dates from much later in his life and reflects the preoccupations of growing old. It is also widely considered to be of much lower quality than his earlier work.

Fans of Borges will recognize the usual distinctive features of his fiction: the protagonists occasionally cite arcane but real-sounding works of literature that are Borges's own invention, there is reference to secret societies and mythologies (here Norse), and Argentina and Uruguay are treated as a completely natural setting for world-shattering events. That said, the stories feel like retreading old ground and the prose is threadbare. By the time these stories were written, Borges had gone completely blind, and the need to dictate his material must have had some detrimental effect on his style. "There are More Things" is an homage to H.P. Lovecraft that takes on a Lovecraftian theme (a haunted house taken over by an alien being from beyond space) but botches the narration completely. Some of the plots are just lame, such as the academic oneupmanship in "El soborno" or the meh historical fiction of "Avelino Arredondo".

The author is at his best here when the stories deal with the perspective of old age. In "El otro" the elderly Borges meets himself from half a century earlier, and the inability of the two to find any common ground cruelly reflects how human beings change so much over a lifetime that we can hardly be said to remain the same person. In "El congreso", the elderly narrator looks back to his utopian political engagement in 1899 Buenos Aires, when he joins an idealist club that aims to represent the whole human race regardless of borders. Also, in the story from which the book takes its title, Borges refers to the well-worn theme of the infinite (here a book in which every time one turns one page, more pages appear) but with some nice curmudgeonly humour.

I read the collection in the original Spanish as described in this Amazon listing. Borges's language is not especially difficult and a pocket Spanish-English dictionary with the most common South American regionalisms would suffice.
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