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Collected Fictions

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4.58  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,691 Ratings  ·  624 Reviews
The New York Times bestseller, "a marvelous new collection of stories by . . . one of the most remarkable writers of our century" --Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

Jorge Luis Borges has been called the greatest Spanish-language writer of our century. Now for the first time in English, all of Borges' dazzling fictions are gathered into a single volume, brilliantly tran
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Paperback, 565 pages
Published September 30th 1999 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1998)
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Robin Hi Sandra,

Sorry, I missed your question until today!

I'm no expert about Latin American literature, but I can tell you why I think Borges is so great.…more
Hi Sandra,

Sorry, I missed your question until today!

I'm no expert about Latin American literature, but I can tell you why I think Borges is so great. First off, he was writing in the category of magic realism before Marquez. He laid the groundwork for all kinds of new possibilities by reviving the classic traditions, like the epics DON QUIXOTE, THE ODYSSEY, and then playing philosophical havoc with them. As far as I know, he was one of the first genre blenders. He fused metaphysical and fantastical elements with the real, seducing the reader to believe what he was writing by way of footnotes and historical references. All this, with a blend of irony, humor, lyricism, that make his work unforgettable. At least, to me :-).(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cecily

For the last year or so, I've been working at a film studios.

As I wander around the site, what I find most fascinating is not star-spotting (they tend to be shielded from prying eyes anyway) but the many and varied pre-production activities needed to make the magic of cinema a reality: building sets and props; puppet-people in motion-capture suits; food carts for the crews; the whir of industrial generators; cabling for light and sound; the making of costumes, weapons and jewellery. Real, tang
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Dolors
Jul 18, 2013 Dolors rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of puzzles
Shelves: read-in-2013
“You who read me, are You sure of understanding my language?” Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”

Even though I read Borges’s “Collected Fictions” in Spanish, my native tongue, I have to confess I didn’t understand half of it. Presumptuous of me to think I would. Famous for being the founder of postmodernist literature and influenced by the work of fantasists such Edgar Allan Poe and Franz Kafka, whom I adore, I was naive enough to assume I would be able to untangle Borges’s labyrinthin
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s.penkevich
Nov 07, 2011 s.penkevich rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Do yourself a massive favor and read Borges. He can deliver more plot and twists in 2-5 pages than many authors do in 300. Every page will blow your mind as you loose yourself in the brilliant labyrinth of his words. Read it. Now.
Mala
May 16, 2015 Mala rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: The Brainy Ones


You who read me—are you certain you understand my language?

Imagine you are watching a highly recommended, multiple awards winning, foreign-language film- it's everything you expected it to be, then, suddenly, the subtitles stop working- how annoying! But you are hooked; you can't stop watching– welcome to the Borgesian Labyrinth!

The 'Collected Fictions' consists of the following nine collections- 'A Universal History of Iniquity', 'Fictions', 'Artifices', 'The Aleph', 'The Maker', 'In Praise of
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Jonfaith
Dec 18, 2014 Jonfaith rated it really liked it
Fame is a form--perhaps the worst form--of incomprehension.

I can recall the first time I discovered the name Borges. That marks a near singular occasion. It was 1990 and I was thoroughly enjoying my Philosophy of Religion course and curious about nihilism. This engendered another retreat to the library and there on the opening page of some text was a quotation from this strange figure. It was a few minutes later when I had culled a number of texts from stacks. Like many a reader and a number of
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Alex
Deep in Don Quixote, for a while I convinced myself that Cervantes had written the footnotes too, and the Quixote commentators the editor cited were actually made up by Cervantes. He messes with you like that: he plays so many tricks that you end up thinking anything is possible.

Four months later I pick up Borges, and...here he is doing exactly that. Writing essays about imaginary books, with footnotes pointing to other imaginary commenters on the same imaginary books. Layer on layer of fiction.
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Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
No one wants to get reading=assignments from a Review. But you’ve got one here. If Borges is not Required Reading, he is Highly Recommended Reading. Which amounts to the same thing.

Listen. Borges is one of those masters of the short form, one of those That without which not, as the scholastics may have it. He is pantheonic. Kafka? Beckett? Barthelme? Edgar Allen Poe? Yep. Borges is one of those guys. And you know how you know nothing about the history of English Literature if you don’t know Shak
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Jason Koivu
Feb 23, 2013 Jason Koivu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Reading Jorge Luis Borges's Collected Fictions is like being thrown into the ring with a merciless prize fighter, getting the shit kicked out of you, and loving every minute of it.

These pieces felt more like punches than short stories. Borges jabs to your head, jarring your brain with damning conversations with his future self, invented libraries of the Universe and stories that make you feel like a lost kid on your way to Algebra class but accidentally ending up in Trigonometry. Then he switche
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Nathaniel
Oct 10, 2007 Nathaniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: semifiction
My favorite tidbit about Borges is that he has been written into other authors' stories more than just about any other 20th century author. Neil Gaiman's Destiny and his Garden of Forking Paths, Umberto Eco's mad monk Jorge of Burgos, Zampanò from House of Leaves - and those are just the ones I've come across in my own reading. I'm sure the real Borges (should one miraculously manage to find him distinct from all the "false" Borgeses) would be amused to find that he has become an archetype. But ...more
Ben Winch
One of the most famous lines in Spanish literature is this: Nadie lo vio desembarcar an la unanime noche: “No-one saw him slip from the boat in the unanimous night...”

(‘A Note on the Translation’, from Selected Stories, by Andrew Hurley)

‘No-one saw him disembark in the unanimous night...’

(‘The Circular Ruins’, from Labyrinths, translated by James E. Irby)

Now I’ll admit I don’t know much about translation , nor do I read Spanish, but I feel sure that Hurley’s translation is far from literal. Wh
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Trevor
Oct 25, 2008 Trevor rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
When I was at university we had to read this guy. Look, to be honest I didn’t really like him at the time. He seemed pompous and too clever by half. I liked some of his stuff – the story that begins this collection ‘Borges and I’ is marvelous and even that younger version of me could see just how great that was as a piece of writing. I’ll see if I can’t attach it to the end of this.

When I tried to read Labyrinths I became increasingly confused and annoyed. He was talking about endless libraries
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Junta
Nov 09, 2015 Junta rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Knife fighters, gauchos, writers, translators, kings, warriors, mysterious women, poets, gods.
May 13, 2015

I saw by the digital panel on the microwave that it was past eleven. I began walking back towards my room with my glass of water. I experienced, as I had at other times in the past, the resignation and relief we are made to feel several weeks before final exams, and final paper due dates of the semester. For a procrastinator, the rational mind knows that the most important thing is to get some study done each day - however, his natural, or shall we say primal instincts are unmatched
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Szplug
Feb 13, 2011 Szplug rated it it was amazing
There are few other writers whose work has lingered in my mind to the same degree as has Borges. His short stories are a metaphysical perfume whose aroma, so startling and heady upon the first inhalation, arises, unbidden, at certain points of thought or recollection, working its peculiar and powerful transformative and transfigurative memes upon the seemingly stolid principles that order our universe. The Library of Babel wrenches the brain like a sudden stop upon a dreamy hexagonal rollercoast ...more
Sentimental Surrealist
One of those books that gets a five on principle. I don't feel that Borges' entire bibliography is worth five stars on a story-by-story or book-by-book basis, but that's got more to do with the fact that nobody's is (and the fact La memoria de Shakespeare that is mostly Borges retreading The Book of Sand-era Borges - "August 25, 1983" reminds me too much of "The Other," and "Blue Tigers" swipes its central concept from "The Book of Sand" - the title story is amazing, but the rest is worth skippi ...more
Mara
Oct 13, 2008 Mara rated it it was amazing
I had to return this to the library before I could fully finish it, but it gave me some real "food for thought" as they say, when it comes to writing. Borges breaks every writing rule in the book, "Show don't tell", "Center on your protagonist" "Begin with action, not exposition" and shows that the rules are for neophytes to "tolerable-up" their writing, not for a master whose rare gift transcends any finger-waggling from stuffy rule-makers. Borges writes like a fascinating dinner party guest wh ...more
Justin Evans
Aug 17, 2013 Justin Evans rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
"Hey guys, what's going on?"
"The party's over. That, Justin, is how late to the party you are. It is over."

I have no idea why it took me so long to get to Borges. Perhaps because I mostly read second hand books, and nobody trades in his books? Perhaps because I spent a solid portion of my youth believing that only tremendously depressing books could be interesting? Perhaps because, had I read him before now, I would have been enraged at his disinterest in politics and then his proud 'liberalism
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Yulia
Jun 22, 2008 Yulia rated it liked it
Borges is a literary mathematician but he has no understanding of the human heart. Still, it's impossible not to be curious what his equations create.
Caroline
May 20, 2015 Caroline rated it did not like it
I was hesitant to post anything about this book. Given the stature of Borges it would have been easier just to pretend that I'd never read it. Well, the truth is I hardly did read it. I found his style impenetrable. For me there was no way into these stories, I was just stuck on the outside, with a book full of words on my lap.
Matt
Jul 22, 2008 Matt rated it it was amazing
This book is the complete fiction writings of Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. My initial disclaimer is that there is no way to do justice to a work of this magnitude in a single review, just as there is no way to do it justice after only a first reading.

Anyone who has read Borges will recognize common objects that show up continually in his writings such as labyrinths, gauchos, knife fights, war, jaguars, and books (some of which are fabricated).

For those with little knowlege of the history
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Ali Nili
Dec 29, 2015 Ali Nili rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
داستان هاي اين كتاب ما رو توي يك هزارتوي عجيب و غريب ميبره و اون وسط ولمون ميكنه. مدل اين هزارتو ها رو خود نويسنده برامون تو داستان "دو پادشاه ، دو هزارتو" توضيح ميده. با اين تفاوت كه ما هيچكدوم از پادشاه ها نيستيم و بورخس هر دو پادشاهه!
داستان كتابخانه ي بابل عجيب ترين و بهترين داستان كوتاهي بود كه تا حالا خوندم.
بعد از خوندن اين داستان مغزم به خارش افتاده بود!
Adam
Oct 03, 2007 Adam rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
The absolute bible...a twisting labryinth that changes everytime you read it and slowly infects all you read.
L1w0lf
Jun 09, 2007 L1w0lf rated it it was amazing
Borges is a name that's thrown about quite frequently in 'intellectual' circles. I heard his name from a friend who used to constantly claim that Borges was the greatest author never to win the Nobel Prize. I was intrigued and bought this particular book, an English translation from the original Spanish of this Argentinian writer.

First thing I realized was, that the guy who recommended Borges had never really read a word of Borges! Because he never told me what these stories were *really* about,
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Mana H
Nov 30, 2015 Mana H rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
خداوندگار جهان گناه دادن یکستاره به بورخس را نمیبخشد اگر حجتی در کار نباشد.
بورخس را به اشتباه اینطور خیال میکنند که «در زبان ساده است» و «بیان پیچیدهای دارد» یعنی که ترجمهی آن از زبان دوم بلامانع است!
من فقی یک دلیل میآورم که این حرف و خیال پرت است: بند اول داستان «مکتوب الهی» همین ترجمهی کاوه سیدحسینی را مقابله بگذارید با ترجمهی آن در مجموعه داستان «الف» بورخس کارِ م. طاهرنوکنده. کافیست که ببینید چقدر فضا و زبان بورخس کشته میتواند بشود.
بورخس شاعر زبان نیست، جستارنویسی را در داستان پیشه میکند آ
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John Morgan
Dec 22, 2015 John Morgan rated it it was ok
My rating for this book is for this particular edition, not for Borges' stories themselves, which are among the greatest creations ever devised by the mind of man. I really wanted to like this collected edition, but I found the translations to be in a very awkward and off-putting style. When I reread stories that had appeared in the earlier anthologies "Labyrinths" or "Ficciones," I thought that the earlier versions were far superior to these in terms of how they read. Unfortunately I don't know ...more
Mark
Dec 20, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing
There are no two ways about it, in my mind Jorge Luis Borges is the greatest short story writer to ever live. I have never read any of his longer works, but I have also never read short stories written by anyone else that can hold a candle to Borges' obvious talent with the medium. He can weave the patterns for a momentous revelation in the mind of the reader without them even knowing what her is doing. After reading his better stories you an do nothing but sit and marvel at what has just happen ...more
Leonard
Nov 29, 2015 Leonard rated it it was amazing
Jorge Luis Borges, one of the most imaginative writers I have come across, could have been a mathematician, a physicist, a philosopher or a theologian. I can see his influence on Umberto Eco in the manipulation of text and the blending between fiction and reality. To read Borges’s Labyrinth is immerse myself in a magical world where the concept of infinity manifests in space and time, where the boundary between dream and reality fades, where the past and the future converge into an instant, wher ...more
umberto
Aug 17, 2015 umberto rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Having read some unique stories in his “Ficciones” (Everyman’s Library, 1993) translated by Anthony Kerrigan et al., I thought Borges has amazingly written something mysterious, fantasy-oriented and sometime astonishing as his readers, especially newcomers, would see if they try browsing through some from 101 fictions in this book. Since it’s unthinkably impossible to summarize all of them; therefore, I would select only three outstanding ones that follow, briefly.

First, “The Uncivil Teacher of
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tom bomp
The collection is divided up into sections based on the books the stories were originally published in, so I'll review each section. It's worth noting that this collection has a lot of advantages over reading the individual components separately - it's a new translation and the translator gives a lot of notes on particular cultural things and references you'd likely miss otherwise, which is really handy for giving context, as well as translation notes which give a bit of insight into how Borges ...more
Audrey
Nov 06, 2007 Audrey rated it it was amazing
Borges offers me a place to sit and wonder with myself. I love somewhat exotic and fantastical worlds that are based in sense. This is what he offers.

The other thing that I love about Borges is his totally playful attitude. I don't know if I actually have a visual image of him in my head or not. But when I think of the author, or think of some of his better stories "The Lottery in Babylon." or "The Garden of Forking Paths" among others that other people have mentioned time and again I see eyes
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  • Selected Stories
  • Sixty Stories
  • Blow-Up and Other Stories
  • The Complete Stories
  • Collected Stories
  • The Complete Short Prose, 1929-1989
  • Nazi Literature in the Americas
  • Numbers in the Dark and Other Stories
  • Lands of Memory
  • An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter
  • The Invention of Morel
  • The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov
  • Night Soul and Other Stories
  • The Age of Wire and String
  • The Street of Crocodiles
  • Lost in the Funhouse
  • The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol
  • The Complete Short Stories
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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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“I have no way of knowing whether the events that I am about to narrate are effects or causes.” 81 likes
“To say good-bye is to deny separation; it is to say Today we play at going our own ways, but we'll see each other tomorrow. Men invented farewells because they somehow knew themselves to be immortal, even while seeing themselves as contingent and ephemeral.” 28 likes
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