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Borges and the Eternal Orang-Utans [ Orangutan ] [Paperback]

Luis Fernando Verissimo
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

2 Jun 2005
Vogelstein is a loner who has always lived among books. Suddenly, fate grabs hold of his insignificant life and carries him off to Buenos Aires, to a conference on Edgar Allan Poe, the inventor of the modern detective story. There Vogelstein meets his idol, Jorge Luis Borges, and for reasons that a mere passion for literature cannot explain, he finds himself at the centre of a murder investigation that involves arcane demons, the mysteries of the Kabbala, the possible destruction of the world, and the Elizabethan magus John Dee's 'Eternal Orang-utan', which would end up by writing all the known books in the cosmos.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (2 Jun 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099461676
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099461678
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 788,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"An elegantly constructed caper" (Daily Telegraph)

"Verrisimo's pleasure in his own absurd intertextual universe is infectious" (Times Literary Supplement)

"A true literary mystery in its own right, as well as a homage to Borges" (Financial Times)

Book Description

A hilarious spoof on literary/academic conferences, and a brilliant 'Borgesian' mystery.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but artfully crafted 5 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Quirky and drily amusing in equal measure. I read it in an afternoon but sometimes good things come in small packages.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A novelty that belongs in very select company 25 Aug 2012
By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Plato's Symposium. And this. Two texts I distinctly remember reading in one sitting. An amusing narrative of murder at a literary convention, prompting much erudite speculation at the after party attended by Vogelstein, the principal witness, and his hero Borges, the great author. Anyone who has read Borges will probably get even more juice out of it. The only intertextual reference that raised my eyebrow was an oblique one to the word of Neil Simon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clever and original 22 Jan 2009
By Duncan
A 'murder mystery' of a kind, but a world away from your average whodunnit. Verissimo dishes up the same kind of labyrinthine arcana as his hero Borges, with a plenty of intellectual twists and turns, dollops of history and conspiracy. In the end it's little more than a literary crossword puzzle, but it's never less than thoroughly enjoyable.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mainly for fans 3 Oct 2008
A timid middle-aged translator living in the south of Brazil travels twice to Buenos Aires to meet Jorge Luis Borges, and twice Borges refuses to see him. On the third occasion he goes to a conference about Edgar Allan Poe, and meets Borges unexpectedly at a reception. Later that night one of the conference attendees, a German academic who is universally hated, is murdered in his hotel. Suspicion falls on his two principal enemies, who were in the rooms on each side of his. But, while ordinary scientific discoveries and theories are taking place elsewhere, the story centres around the fantastical theories about the murder woven by the narrator and Borges, in Borges' book-filled study. They get increasingly carried away, imagining connections with Poe, the Necronomicon, Lewis Carroll, Gnosticism, and much before, before the truth is revealed - or is it?
This is a light satirical homage to Borges and some of his favourite writers, written in an amusing and undemanding way, and aimed I suppose purely at Borges fans (like me). It only takes a couple of hours to read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for writers 8 Jun 2013
By Tania Crivellenti - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Verissimo is one of the big names in Brazilian writers. One of my favourites for sure.
This book may not be his best ever work but I had a fantastic time reading it.
The re-creation of Jorge Luiz Borges as a character is brilliant and the story about the discussions of writing techniques are fantastic.
The plot is good, the fiction enjoyable but what I loved it most for being a writer, reading about writers.
I found the translation really good and preserved the style of Verissimo showcasing the unique Brazilian style of writing.
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