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FICCIONES

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This description may be from another edition of this product. "Pens en un laberinto de laberintos, en un sinuoso laberinto creciente que abarcara el pasado y el porvenir y que implicara de alg n modo los astros." --Jorge Luis Borges Ficciones es quiz el libro m...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Sobering readings

After reading Borges Collected Fictins I have found it difficult to take most other authors seriously. Borge's prose is fluent and easily read. The stories are short, sometimes even short-short, which makes them suitable for reading before going to sleep. The stories have a basic structure with a beginning, middle, and end. So much for the easy part! There is the superficial text, of course, but within each story are metaphors and philosophical questions that stimulate my mind. Each story reads like a riddle - that's the closest simile I can think of. Borges is never obscure, even when the riddle is unsolvable it is very clear what he means. Borges himself does not claim too have any answers that are general. That makes his writings so very human. Life for Borges is just too rich and complex to recude it just too a series of problems and their solutions. Therefore, and this is possibly Borges's only firm stance, he is decisively against any form of dictatorship or mass-movement, since they destroy the identities, and importance, of the individual.

Quantum Fiction

FICCIONES is a slender collection of mercifully short stories by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. These brightly sterile and rigidly structured stories require such careful attention that they would be impossible to digest were they any longer. Fortunately, Borges is disdainful of literary navel gazing and gets to the point. In the prologue he writes, "The composition of vast books is a laborious and impoverishing extravagance. To go on for five hundred pages developing an idea whose perfect oral exposition is possible in a few minutes!" Borges is faithful to himself. His prose is stark and purposeful. Imagine GRAVITY'S RAINBOW collapsing under it's own weight to form a neutron star. The seventeen stories in FICCIONES (the first eight originally published as "The Garden of Forking Paths" in 1941 and the last nine as "Artifices" in 1944) explore language, thought, memory, logic and literature through the distortions of time. The relative nature of time is a central preoccupation in the work of Borges, though no comparison to Einstein is implied. Borges has much more in common with the inexplicable world of sub-atomic particles, full of strange charms and flavors. Sometimes these stories seem to start at random, following twisting strings forward for an infinty before looping back to an irreducible point, culminating in a new view on exsistence. As he writes in one of the best stories "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote" (the absurd title of which may give some clue into Borges' style), "A philosophical doctrine is in the beginning a seemingly true description of the universe; as the years pass it becomes a mere chapter - if not a paragraph or a noun - in the history of philosophy". All of the stories in FICCIONES, the absurd memoirs, self-referential mysteries and reviews of imaginary books, reflect this idea and are rendered with care, every noun vital. In "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", the story of an otherworldly encyclopedia, Borges writes, "To explain or judge an event is to identify or unite it with another one". It is difficult to explain Borges by identifying him with another author or book. He is often compared to Stanislaw Lem and Italio Calvino. There are some superficial similarities, but most of Borges stories lack any trace of humanity. Even at their most abstract, Lem and Calvino are concerned with mankind. For Borges, his characters are a literary device, a McGuffin. The most accesible story in FICCIONES, "Form of the Sword" appears to be a character study, but that is just a disguise for an exploration into memory and questions about the true nature of reality. The closest approximation to Borges is a (supposedly) non-fiction book, Douglas Hofstadter's GODEL, ESCHER, BACH, which in all fairness should include Borges in the title instead of relying on Lewis Carroll for literary support. Of course, the inclusion of Borges would have rendered much of GODEL, ESCHER, BACH unnecessary. Why be obtuse for 700

A sly milestone of 20th century literature

While only a slim volume of about 100 pages, Jorge Luis Borges' FICCIONES is one of the 20th century's most original and influential works. A set of two collections of short stories, ''The Garden of Forking Paths" and ''Artifices", FICCIONES was the world's first exposure to the Argentinian writer and Borges' all-around best work. The nature of the stories which Borges crafted is so unique and subtle that it defies description. He portrayed unusual occurrences, and peppered his stories, narrated in a faux-scholastic style, with references to colourful sources that, while sounding plausible, are of Borges' own invention and can be found in no library. In the first story of FICCIONES, ''Tlon, Uqbar, Orbius Tertius," he imagines an encyclopedia mysteriously containing a entry for a country that is not to be found - at least not in our reality. ''The Approach to Al-Mutasim" is a review of a book which doesn't exist; here, in a reversal of the usual order, the review brings the book into being. ''The Babylon Lottery" and ''The Library of Babel" are both clever metaphors for the human world. In the first, Borges describes an ancient society which lets all things be decided by chance. In the second, which introduced the concept of the infinite library, the story's setting is an unimaginably vast archive whose librarians from birth to death care for books whose meanings cannot be deciphered. Jorge Luis Borges often used several key motifs in his books, such as mirrors and labyrinths, and it is this reuse of symbols which has created the ''Borgesian" genre. These symbols and the offbeat constructions which Borges almost singlehandedly invented went on to inspire legions of writers, including Gene Wolfe and Salman Rushdie.The translation of FICCIONES has long been a divisive issue. While some, such as myself, believe that this versions of FICCIONES follows the original Spanish closely and, in any event, Borges' genius is found not as much in his language as in his concepts, others detest this 1962 version. Andrew Hurley has recently translated all of Borges fictional stories, including FICCIONES, in COLLECTED FICTIONS published by Penguin, but even his translation has sparked new battles. Should one wish to read FICCIONES in English, however, I'd suggest getting this translation. It is less expensive than COLLECTED FICTIONS and contains only Borges' finest work. For those who can read Spanish decently, I'd recommend even obtaining the original language, as Borges' stories do not use vocabulary much outside what one gets after four-years of high school Spanish.While some readers may not "get" Borges (he can be compared to H.P. Lovecraft in possessing great influence on some but total obscurity to others), I'd certainly recommend trying FICCIONES.

Ficciones - Unique, Remarkable and Exciting.

Imagine removing a blindfold. You are in some American city, but which one? For many cities the street layouts, the buildings, the commercial enterprises are so similar that few clues would be available. But New York, Boston, and San Francisco would be immediately recognizable. In much the same way the works of Jorge Luis Borges, Umberto Eco, Franz Kafka, and Edgar Allen Poe stand apart from other great writers. They each offer a uniquely fascinating perspective, an unusual style combined with a remarkable command of language. I first encountered Ficciones quite a few years ago. I was not familiar with Jorge Luis Borges and was not prepared for this remarkable discovery. I still have that book, a little paperback priced at $2.45. I return to it again and again, always to find myself surprised by Borges. (I now have all of Borges works that have been translated to English.) Borges assumes that his reader is literate. He makes allusions to a wide range of works, occasionally mentioning entirely mythical books that somehow should exist. His volcabulary is immense, but his writing is clear, entertaining, and unpredictable. It is said that Borges has seemingly read everything - and not in translation, but in the original Latin, German, French, English, and Spanish. To better appreciate Dante, he taught himself 13th century Italian. The poetry, essays, and short stories of Borges are already recognized as classic works of the 20th century. Ficciones, a collection of short stories from 1941-1944, is a particularly good introduction. Take a look at some other reader reviews, but not too many. Borges is best as a surprise, like a fine wine that is unexpectedly encountered.

Magical, captivating; Borges is a master of the short story

These whimsical, fantastic tales explore the Borgesian themes of mirrors, cults, plots, and history. Borges is a modern master, with one foot planted firmly in the traditions of Miguel de los Cervantes's age, the other foot planted in solidarity with (post)modern writers such as Umberto Eco or even Thomas Pynchon. It's a shame that Borges never achieved the fame of the latter two, at least not in the United States.Perhaps this comparison is off-base, but this collection makes me think of JS Bach's "inventions": brilliantly written, innovative little morsels that you must take sensitively and savor long after you are done with them.The only criticism I sometimes hear about these short stories is that there are no genuinely human, fleshed out characters (besides perhaps the narrator), and the plots tend to be about abstract ideas and individual conflictedness, rather than the more conventional plots about human interactions. What can I say? That's just how Borges is. I think he's a great (and underrated/underappreciated!) storyteller and literary craftsman, but maybe if you like a lot of character realism and musings about interpersonal relationships in your stories, Borges isn't for you.This is a thoroughly enjoyable collection, especially if you like "magical realism" and short stories that read like clever inventions.
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