Fictions Paperback – 7 Sep 2000
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Although Jorge Luis Borges published his first book in 1923--doling out his own money for a limited edition of Fervor de Buenos Aires--he remained in Argentinian obscurity for almost three decades. In 1951, however, Ficciones appeared in French, followed soon after by an English translation. This collection, which included the cream of the author's short fictions, made it clear that Borges was a world-class (if highly unclassifiable) artist--a brilliant, lyrical miniaturist, who could pose the great questions of existence on the head of pin. And by 1961, when he shared the French Prix Formentor with Samuel Beckett, he seemed suddenly to tower over a half dozen literary cultures, the very exemplar of modernism with a human face.
By the time of his death in 1986, Borges had been granted old master status by almost everybody (except, alas, the gentlemen of the Swedish Academy). Yet his work remained dispersed among a half dozen different collections, some of them increasingly hard to find. Andrew Hurley has done readers a great service, then, by collecting all the stories in a single, meticulously translated volume. It's a pleasure to be reminded that Borges' style--poetic, dreamlike, and compounded of innumerable small surprises--was already in place by 1935, when he published A Universal History of Iniquity: "The earth we inhabit is an error, an incompetent parody. Mirrors and paternity are abominable because they multiply and affirm it." (Incidentally, the thrifty author later recycled the second of these aphorisms in his classic bit of bookish metaphysics, "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Teris.") The glories of his middle period, of course, have hardly aged a day. "The Garden of the Forking Paths" remains the best deconstruction of the detective story ever written, even in the post-Auster era, and "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" puts the so-called death of the author in pointed, hilarious perspective.
But Hurley's omnibus also brings home exactly how consistent Borges remained in his concerns. Aslate as 1975, in "Avelino Arredondo," he was still asking (and occasionally even answering) the same riddles about time and its human repository, memory: "For the man in prison, or the blind man, time flows downstream as though down a slight decline. As he reached the midpoint of his reclusion, Arredondo more than once achieved that virtually timeless time. In the first patio there was a wellhead, and at the bottom, a cistern where a toad lived; it never occurred to Arredondo that it was the toad's time, bordering on eternity, that he sought." Throughout, Hurley's translation is crisp and assured (although this reader will always have a soft spot for "Funes, the Memorious" rather than "Funes, His Memory.") And thanks to his efforts, Borgesians will find no better--and no more pleasurable--rebuttal of the author's description of himself as "a shy sort of man who could not bring himself to write short stories." --James Marcus, Amazon.com -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Hardcover.
"A marvelous new collection of stories by one of the most remarkable writers of our century." --Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
"The major work of probably the most influential Latin American writer of the century." --Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World
"An unparalleled treasury of marvels . . . Along with a tiny cohort of peers, and seers (Kafka and Joyce come to mind), Borges is more than a stunning storyteller and a brilliant stylist; he's a mirror who reflects the spirit of his time." --Melvin Jules Bukiet, "Chicago Tribune"
"An event worth of celebration . . . Hurley deserves our enthusiastic praise for this monumental piece of work." --William Hjortsberg, San Francisco Chronicle
"Borges is the most important Spanish-language writer since Cervantes. . . . To have denied him the Nobel Prize is as bad as the case of Joyce, Proust, and Kafka." --Mario Vargas Llosa
"When I read a good book, I sometimes like to think I might be capable of writing something similar, but never, in my wildest dreams, could I write anything that approaches the level of cleverness and intellect and madness of Borges. I don't think anyone could." --Daniel Radcliffe
A marvelous new collection of stories by one of the most remarkable writers of our century. Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
The major work of probably the most influential Latin American writer of the century. Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World
An unparalleled treasury of marvels . . . Along with a tiny cohort of peers, and seers (Kafka and Joyce come to mind), Borges is more than a stunning storyteller and a brilliant stylist; he s a mirror who reflects the spirit of his time. Melvin Jules Bukiet, "Chicago Tribune"
An event worth of celebration . . . Hurley deserves our enthusiastic praise for this monumental piece of work. William Hjortsberg, San Francisco Chronicle
Borges is the most important Spanish-language writer since Cervantes. . . . To have denied him the Nobel Prize is as bad as the case of Joyce, Proust, and Kafka. Mario Vargas Llosa
When I read a good book, I sometimes like to think I might be capable of writing something similar, but never, in my wildest dreams, could I write anything that approaches the level of cleverness and intellect and madness of Borges. I don t think anyone could. Daniel Radcliffe
" -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
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Top Customer Reviews
Norman Thomas di Giovanni's long, painstaking work with Borges to produce translations of extremely high quality have been overturned by a similarly unworthy disrespect for artistic integrity.Read more ›
And this classic writer was at the peak of his powers when he collected together "Ficciones," whose plain name belies the subtle power and exquisite beauty of Jorges' short stories. Even among Borges' many short stories, few of them can rival this little labyrinth of strange ancient cities, fictional histories, and the eerie depths of the human mind.
"I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia." An odd old saying from the Middle-East leads the narrator to seek out the long-lost heretical histories of a fictional world known as Tlon. Its beliefs, language, and metaphysical eccentricities increasingly fascinate the narrator, until it's almost a surprise to realize that Borges invented all of this.
The stories that follow are no less engrossing -- the recounting of a strange, haunting novel, a man who attempts to LIVE as Don Quixote, a man who tries to dream a new being into existence, a lottery that determines the way the people of Babylon are to live, an examination of a brilliant and underrated author, an exploration of the eternal Library of the universe, and a labyrinthine spy story.
The second round of short stories is a bit less enthralling, merely because it focuses more on "typical" Borges short stories.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Borges is a classic, this translation is very good , the book was in brilliant condition and arrived very quicklyPublished 13 days ago by Basia
Anyone who is a fan of Borges should get this. It's full of great pieces you don't get in the smaller collections, that will take your mind on labyrinthine journeys - plus, it's... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Bad translation. This clunky translation does a disservice to a great writer.If Borges could return and write another story it might be called Andrew Hurley murdered me. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Gary Green