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Collected Fictions

4.59 of 5 stars 4.59  ·  rating details  ·  13,684 ratings  ·  595 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
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and fantastical elements with the real, seducing the reader to believe what he was writing by way of footnotes and historical references.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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Steve Sckenda
The labyrinth beckons you, and the blind man stands ready to take you by the hand and lead you through the infinite labyrinths of his imagination. “Collected Fictions” is ground zero for those of you who want to read the short fiction of Jorge Luis Borges, the great Argentine writer.

If you have not read Borges, this is where you start. This book is a great value as it includes fifty year’s worth of his short fiction. Gauchos, knife-fighters, dreamtigers, labyrinths, and fantasy await you.

I pro
Jul 18, 2013 Dolors rated it 3 of 5 stars
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

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
Nov 07, 2011 s.penkevich rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
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
May 19, 2015 Cecily is currently reading it

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
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, 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.
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
Jason Koivu
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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.
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.
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
Oct 03, 2007 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All
The absolute bible...a twisting labryinth that changes everytime you read it and slowly infects all you read.
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,
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
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
Nate D
Jan 04, 2010 Nate D rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fantasists, librarians, and seekers after the headwaters of post-modernity
Recommended to Nate D by: James Z specifically; Nabakov and Bolano by reference
Since this volume collects all of Borges' originally independent collections, I'll give each its own space here, as I read them:

A Universal History of Iniquity (1935): A series of short bio-pics -- artistically licensed (and sometimes dubiously accurate) recreations of historical lives and legends. Borges himself, in his introduction, characterizes them as the work of a writer incapable of writing outright fiction of his own (despite, in characteristic contradiction, the inclusion of one traditi
The Penguin Classics Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges is one of the richest compendia of a single author's short fiction. Borges wrote in a class occupied by Anton Chekhov, Franz Kafka, Flannery O'Connor, James Joyce, Edgar Allan Poe, and few others.

As always I find it difficult to summarize dozens of stories in a single volume, so I thought I would approach this work thematically.

The Themes Themselves: Borges' themes were the doubleness of consciousness, the unreliability of memory, the
In the last two years Borges has grown to be perhaps my favorite writer, alongside Hemingway and Rimbaud. His short stories are so unique and inspiring that I have trouble conveying just how brilliant they are.

The best way I can sum up Borges is that he writes spellbinding and magical short stories that, at their conclusion, reveal themselves to have been created in order to explain a philosophical notion or surrealistic idea. A sort of hybrid of South American magical realism combined with phi
Amazing, wonderful, fantastic, throw every positive superlative you can find at this collection. Borges is a marvel of a writer. This lovely deckle-cut volume is a comprehensive assembly of Borges's short stories. There's a staggering amount of great stuff in here and all I can do is advise you, if you have never read Borges before, to go do so right away.

Borges is almost mathematical in his writings. He writes about infinites and infinitesimals, puzzles, memories, perceptions, alternate realit
Jul 19, 2011 Aylin marked it as currently-reading-long-term
I love the library where Borges worked as a librarian from 1930 - 1946.

--Personal log to keep track of the short stories read--
Will read a story here and there so this is a long term project.

(* indicates favorites)
Have read:


FICTIONS (the Garden of Forking Paths, 1941)-
*Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis, Tertius
The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim
*Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote
The Circular Ruins
The Lottery in Babylon
A Survey of the Works of HerberT Quain
*The Library of Babel
I had read some Borges before, usually in Spanish, so it was interesting to read such a complete collection. His common themes showed up in many stories, creating a sense of continuity among all the assorted ideas. I found some of the early stories very repetitive but love the way that he just makes up ideas and presents them as facts, or the way he changes historical events in order to present a new story; done unapologetically and sometimes for no apparent reason.

The two themes that I really
Did Andrew Hurley use Google Translate? Awkward and stilted prose. Inferior to di Giovanni's translations in particular (which were made in collaboration with Borges), and other Borges translations in general. What a disservice to a great writer.
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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
More about Jorge Luis Borges...
Ficciones Labyrinths:  Selected Stories and Other Writings The Aleph and Other Stories Selected Poems The Book of Sand and Shakespeare's Memory

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“I have no way of knowing whether the events that I am about to narrate are effects or causes.” 76 likes
“He consorted with prostitutes and poets...and with persons even worse.” 25 likes
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