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The Widow Ching-Pirate (Penguin Mini Modern Classics)

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  146 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Borges became famous as a writer of short stories that contained new realities: elaborately conceived, ingenious and gamesome précis of impossible worlds or imaginary books. In these five stories there is danger on the high seas, an ungracious teacher of etiquette and an encyclopedia of an unknown planet - and Borges's unique imagination and intellect play throughout.
Paperback, 75 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by Penguin Classics
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(showing 1-30 of 313)
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Mark Easton
Aug 28, 2013 Mark Easton rated it really liked it
There's always an inherent danger in reading Borges as his short fiction carries with it an intrinsic risk of exploding, each story being an impenetrable and enigmatic mass of chaos plucked from the depths of his cavernous imagination and bound in heavy and endless threads of language.

This short collection of five stories is no exception. Covering a range of themes-including piracy, thuggery, Japanese etiquette, false knowledge, and unoriginality of art-each story has, at its heart, a brilliant
Sep 05, 2011 Brian rated it it was amazing
Borges makes me wish I had a set of encyclopedias. When I read his short stories I believe what he is saying is the truth. It is the truth. What would Borges have thought of google? Bullshit!!! That's what he would of thought. Any Tlön would tell you that the Internet and anything posted on it is nothing but words written in a past that no longer exists. I love Borges. He teaches me things no one taught me in school. He taught me that life is now and only now. And there are many of my lives coex ...more
Oct 09, 2014 Robert rated it liked it
Some of it very interesting, the rest of it either went completely over my head or quite dull. Not smart enough to tell which.
Peter Dunn
Dec 01, 2015 Peter Dunn rated it it was ok
I acquired this as part of the Penguin Mini Modern Classics 50-volume box set. Sadly as I write this I can see that this out of print box set is only now available via Amazon at a huge prize so don’t bother looking for it, but do watch out for future similar efforts by Penguin.

It is a great way of pushing you to read outside one’s comfort zone as you feel obliged to read them all as you have bought them and their small size means they take hardly any time to read. Each one I've read in the colle
Mar 30, 2014 Jason rated it really liked it
A 2011 publication containing five shorts by Jorge Luis Borges, The Widow Ching-Pirate covers some of the author's most influential works. These translated stories come from two of his early 20th century works: Historia Universal de la Infamia and Ficciones. The current edition (translated by Andrew Hurley) includes "The Widow Ching-Pirate," "Monk Eastman, Purveyor of Iniquities," and "The Uncivil Teacher of Court Etiquette Kotsuke no Suke" from A Universal History of Iniquity, as well as "Tlon, ...more
Nov 03, 2013 Leander rated it liked it
One of the Penguin Mini Modern Classics series, this is like a little collection of curios - five stories displaying different aspects of Borges's writing. Fittingly, there are examples of fantasy recounted with the gravity of history, and history told with the elaboration of fantasy. Three studies focus on lesser-known figures from history: the 'doughty' Widow Ching, who ran a formidable pirate fleet in the seas around China; the New York gang boss Monk Eastman, with his unexpected affection fo ...more
The Book
Overall, not my favourite collection of stories by Borges. I usually find that I enjoy the concepts in his stories but on occasion the language and style gets in the way of my enjoyment of them. I find his fist person narrative style overly fussy in Pierre Menard for example, and didn't want to finish reading it. Then again, I enjoyed The Uncivil Teacher (...) which has a different, calmer narrative style.
Jan 02, 2015 Jacqui rated it it was ok
Memorable Quotes
The Widow Ching-Pirate
“Be cruel, be just, be obeyed, be victorious.”

Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
“…the present is undefined and indefinite, the future has no reality except as present hope, and the past has no reality except as present recollection"

“…while we sleep here, we are awake somewhere else, so that every man is in fact two men.”
Oct 08, 2015 Runa rated it really liked it
I'm a huge admirer of Borges, but I wasn't fully convinced by the first three stories in this little book - they're good, of course, but - I felt - not up to the insanely high standards that his fiction sets for itself. On the other hand, Tlon and Pierre Menard are, as always, perfect.
Feb 21, 2014 Cassandra rated it liked it
The stories of "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" and "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" are both so original and mind-bending they are a joy to read. I love the depth and frugality of Borges.
Jul 18, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
This is the perfect little book to have in your bag just in case, for example, you have to wait 25 minutes at the dentist. It weighs less virtually nothing and contains five stories by Borges, of the invented historical and literary anecdote type. Each is beautifully crafted, but my favourite is 'Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius', which I've read before in another collection. It's an account of an imaginary simulacrum of a world that proves more fascinating than the real one. As with most Borges stori ...more
Feb 22, 2012 Ryan rated it liked it
This was my first reading of Borges, and while I was pleasantly surprised by how creative and amusing some of the stories are, I haven't yet figured out how to approach his work in general. Clearly there's are larger significance within the fabric of his extremely short fictions, but without looking at more of his work its hard for me to put the ideas together. It's ironic that I need to read much more of his work to understand the stories here, because otherwise the variety covered is perfect f ...more
Blogbaas Van 'tVliegend Eiland
Steven Pilling
Feb 17, 2016 Steven Pilling rated it liked it
this made me realise that when it comes to fiction I'm not as clever as I think I am. parts were good but most floated past my head leaving only bafflement.
borges has a beautiful turn of phrase some humour and well I think this collection fits my view of jazz in that the creator enjoyed it wadmore than the reader.
Feb 25, 2012 Alexandria rated it really liked it
A collection of 5 short stories from 1939 and 1944. I especially enjoyed "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" and "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote". Borges is, as always, simultaneously playful and thought-provoking in his ideas and prose.
Marion Honey
Jan 02, 2014 Marion Honey rated it it was ok
Recommended to Marion by: Rosianna
The story concepts were too dense for me. I always felt like I was reading to finish rather reading for enjoyment. The writing wasn't bad; it just wasn't for me. Guess I'll be staying away from this dude.
Jun 21, 2012 Dave rated it liked it
Enjoyable sampling of Borges' works. The story ""Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" almost has some Lovecraftian moments, with its discussion of secret otherworldly cults and undiscovered books.
Feb 14, 2014 Alix rated it did not like it
I tend to really like Borges in general, but I didn't particularly like any of the stories in this collection. Would definitely not read again.
Chris Wright
Dec 15, 2013 Chris Wright rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clever philosophy and social commentary in an unusual short story format. Well crafted is the phrase which springs to mind.
Sep 26, 2011 John rated it really liked it
It makes me want to read more Borges, which is surely the point.
Johan Radzi
Jul 22, 2014 Johan Radzi rated it liked it
borges, lu memang kerennn!
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Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo (Spanish pronunciation: [xoɾxe lwis boɾxes], Russian: Хорхе Луис Борхес) was an Argentine writer and poet born in Buenos Aires. In 1914, his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school and traveled to Spain. On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in Surrealist literary journals. He also worked as a libra ...more
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“Day and night, their fail and crippled ships defy the tempest.” 1 likes
“Day and night, their frail and crippled ships defy the tempest.” 1 likes
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