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The Aleph and Other Stories

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4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  16,263 ratings  ·  549 reviews
Full of philosophical puzzles and supernatural surprises, these stories contain some of Borges’s most fully realized human characters. With uncanny insight he takes us inside the minds of an unrepentant Nazi, an imprisoned Mayan priest, fanatical Christian theologians, a woman plotting vengeance on her father’s “killer,” and a man awaiting his assassin in a Buenos Aires gu ...more
Paperback, 210 pages
Published July 27th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published 1945)
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Steve Sckenda
“Oh God, I could be bounded by a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space.”
Hamlet II:2 (quoted by Borges, in epigraph The Aleph)

Borges, my blind king of infinite space and limitless imagination, published these 17 stories in 1949. The anchor story, “The Aleph,” describes a point in space that contains all other spaces at once. Most of these stories are variations on “The Aleph” and its themes of infinity, time, identity, labyrinths, and darkness. Here is a brief description of most of
...more
Glenn Russell

When I read the work of Jorge Luis Borges I feel like my universe is expanding a thousand-fold. And for good reason - my universe is, in fact, expanding a thousand-fold! This is especially true as I read The Aleph and Other Stories. Such sheer imaginative power. Fantastic! There are nearly fifty stories and brief tales collected here from three Borges books: The Aleph, the Maker and Museum -- and every tale worth reading multiple times.

For the purposes of this review, I will focus on 4 stories,
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Jason Carlin
You're avoiding a single star, Borges, simply because I try my best not to dish them out. There's little value in reading if one is going to try consider ways to dislike doing it. I love your ideas, but not your executions. Reading through the contents list, I can easily choose five or six stories whose very conception alone excite me(The Immortal, The Zahir, The Writing of The God, The House of Asterion), but you continually bashed me over the head with names, places, dates, literary and histor ...more
Bill  Kerwin

A masterful collection by a writer of genius. I believe "The Aleph" is just as good as "Fictions," and "Fictions" is as good as any book of short pieces produced in the 20th Century. If you like paradoxes, puzzles, doppelgangers and labyrinths used as metaphors for the relation of microcosm to macrocosm and the fluid nature of personal identity, then this is the book for you. These stories are profound, but they are written in such an entertaining traditional narrative style that they might ofte
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Magdalena
Me costó mucho terminar este libro. Tenía ganas de leerlo por decir "ya leí a Borges en algún punto de mi vida", pero realmente fue una lectura algo difícil.

El contexto histórico, fantasioso y en ciertos momentos filosóficos fueron muy abrumantes. Seguramente me pareció eso debido a que venía leyendo estilos y géneros muy distintos al de cuentos fantaseosos con un nivel de profundidad alto (en la mayoría de ellos).

Es el primer libro con el que experimento la convicción de volver a leerlo en ot
...more
Angelo Giardini
Preparando-me para uma leitura e discussão coletiva aqui no GoodReads.
Ginny_1807
Immenso Borges

Se leggendo “Finzioni” non si può fare a meno di ammirare Borges per l’originalità inventiva e il geniale virtuosismo, leggendo “L’Aleph” si impara ad amarlo incondizionatamente. O almeno a me è successo così.
A chi si accostasse per la prima volta a questo scrittore, consiglierei pertanto di iniziarne la conoscenza da quest’opera, che a mio avviso ne rivela più intensamente ed esaustivamente le eccezionali qualità narrative e il singolarissimo profilo intellettuale.
Ciascuno dei d
...more
Owlseyes
Stevenson, Wells, Twain, Verne,…the Arabian Nights, were some of the references for Borges very early on, back in Argentina. At his father’s library, he read a lot. Then he went to Europe...



Borges: “American, old and a blind poet “ he realized once, later in life.Afterwards he had to live up to it and face old age as a “time of happiness”; the “animal being dead…man and soul go on”.


Borges: “a shy man who longed for oblivion” (“siempre tímido”, as he said of himself); but not shy stories, he
...more
Salma
قرأتها قبل عامين
و هذا ما كتبته حينها
مجموعة قصص قصيرة لـ بورخيس...0
ليست قراءته سهلة... فهذا الإنسان موسوعي جدا و كأنه مطلع على كافة الثقافات و الأديان و الأساطير في الأرض... كثرة الأسماء و التداعيات جعلتني أتوه... و حُقَّ لي أن أتوه و هو أبو المتاهات و التوهان... فقصصه تدور بمعظمها حول المتاهة واللانهائية و الدور و الشك و اللامنطقية... فمثلا كيف لنقطة أن تحتوي كل الزمان و المكان و كل شيء بوقت واحد لا متعاقب...0
طبعا ليس من داع لأقول أن لم تكن كل القصص على سوية واحدة و أن فكرته كثيرا ما كان يعيدها
...more
29alabs
El Aleph es una colección de cuentos (de ficción, la mayor parte) recopilada, si no me falla, por el mismo Borges, donde se exploran diversos temas que pasan por la inmortalidad y su opuesto, la divinidad, el significado de dios y todo esto lo conjunta con la metafísica, teología, filosofía y estoy seguro que hasta algo de metaliteratura hay por allí.

Y hay varios cuentos en la colección que me dejaron muy buena impresión, El Inmortal paso a ser uno que recomendaría sin dudas, El Aleph es probabl
...more
Jerry
Want a great description of what it's like to look at the World Wide Web through a browser for the first time? Read the long beautiful paragraph in which Borges describes his first look into the Aleph.

I keep coming back to these stories and those in Labyrinths. Borges captures so much, so quickly.
Vanita
Pode ser encarado como humildade, ignorância ou até alguma preguiça. A verdade é que há muito queria introduzir Jorge Luís Borges nas minhas leituras e fiquei radiante quando me ofereceram "O Aleph" no Natal. A certeza de que iria conhecer um mundo novo e entrar nos meandros que deram origem ao realismo mágico, o mesmo que serve de mote a um dos melhores livros de sempre - "Cem Anos de Solidão", de Gabriel Garcia Marques - lançou-me neste livro de contos com tanto entusiasmo, que acabei por esba ...more
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

In its beginning and in its end are thoughts of a woman. Then there is a sudden, plaintive cry in the middle about her with the author identifying himself.

The beginning:


"On the incandescent February morning Beatriz Viterbo died, after a death agony so imperious it did not for a moment descend into sentimentalism or fear, I noticed that the iron billboards in the Plaza Constitucion bore new advertisements for some brand or other of Virginia tobacco; I was saddened by this fact, for it made me rea
...more
Giacomo Boccardo
È la raccolta di 17 racconti dello scrittore argentino Jorge Luis Borges.

Purtroppo lo stile con cui sono scritti, ma anche il contenuto degli stessi, ha fatto sì che le parole mi entrassero da un occhio e mi uscissero dall'altro, anche contemporaneamente ( ? ). Mi è chiaro che vi siano innumerevoli riferimenti ad altre opere, ma bisogna avere una cultura accademica per comprenderli tutti, o almeno per intuirli. Inoltre, sono troppo razionale per poter apprezzare il salto continuo tra realtà e fi
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Florencia
I know why I didn't write a review. I wrote several reviews about Borges' books and I got tired of saying how amazing this writer was. Is. Will always be. This is one of the greatest short stories collections I've ever read. There are ordinary situations combined with magical events, sometimes very subtle, sometimes not. But it's there. And they're all beautifully written. Stories like "El Inmortal", "Emma Zunz", "La casa de Asterión" or "Los teólogos" are outstanding pieces of literary work tha ...more
arcobaleno
Ci ho provato e riprovato. Ogni volta mi impegnavo a leggerne un pezzetto in più, ma ogni volta mi ritrovavo con un testo cervellotico, artificioso e saccente, che faticavo ad afferrare; anzi, mi infastidiva. E ogni volta mi sentivo come quel rudimentale troglodita del primo racconto, tuttavia priva di immortalità.
L’ho ripreso infine da poco, quando ho scoperto su GR un gruppo di lettura che aveva scelto proprio "L’Aleph” per il mese di dicembre.
Sono rimasta dietro le quinte in attesa, e anche
...more
Olivia
I found this book on a shelf at a library two days ago. The name of the author sounded familiar, but I did not know from where. I picked it up and opened it on a random page, which happened to be the first page of the short story "The House of Asterión".

It was one of the most stunning things I had ever read. Needless to say, I brought The Aleph home with me that day.

Since then I've been reading. It would be a lie to say I understood everything, that I caught every reference. Maybe that even ad
...more
Fernanda
Eternidad. Esto es lo que fue. El libro es tan denso, sus lecturas tan pesadas que es difícil mantener el ritmo, es difícil, si no un suplicio, leer dos cuentos al mismo tiempo. Las historias son tan cortas y el libro tan pequeño, que es sorprendente la cantidad de tiempo que me tomó terminarlo.

El libro es bueno. Los temas son poderosos, espirituales, más allá de lo evidente. Son lecturas bien pensadas y escritas limpiamente. Son la clase de historias que alguien muy espiritual guardaría como t
...more
Jana
Jun 25, 2009 Jana rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: south
The right question is: when is somebody ready to read Borges? Two stars only but only because I wasn't at all and I wanted to be so badly.
Julie
Trippy in the best, Borgesian sense. One of my favorites is "The Zahir," about a coin the narrator can't stop thinking about (this happenned to me once with the Redwall books when I was much younger: I found myself unable to stop thinking about the picture of Cluny the Scourge on the Redwall paperback cover, and I FREAKED out thinking that it would be the only thing I would think about for the rest of my life!! Thankfully, that didn't happen... until now...*ominous music*). "The Immortals" is ab ...more
Sawsan
لم استطع الدخول لعالم بورخيس القصصي
في بعض أحيان بتكون الفانتازيا والغرابة في النص الأدبي طريفة وممتعة وفيها صور خيالية جميلة
وأحيان أخرى تكون غاية في الغموض, مجرد كلمات وجمل جنب بعضها لو قرأتها من اليمين للشمال أو العكس لا أجد فرقا يُذكر

بعض القصص في هذه المجموعة الخيال فيها مثير للدهشة, وأخرى أفكارها مفهومة إلى حد ما, وبعضها الكاتب نفسه بيدخل فيها فكأنها أجزاء من حياته
لن أحاول في الوقت القريب قراءة قصص أخرى لبورخيس,وسأكتفي بقراءة سيرته الذاتية
Fiona
I'd read most of these stories in translation about six years ago, but had forgotten almost everything except that they were mind-expanding. They leave the impression of all being mind-expanding in a similar sort of way, but I think that's because the aspects that do recur (mainly: infinity and labyrinths) are so striking that it takes an effort to remember the other stories, excellent though they are. The title story hadn't been included in the translation, which is surprising in some ways beca ...more
Giovanna
Borges è un visionario ed un maestro:prende le vite degli uomini e ne illumina un istante,portandolo sul palcoscenico che la sua fantasia ha creato.Il suo tono fatalistico e un pò oscuro ci apre mondi sconosciuti e inquietanti portandoci a riflettere su ciò che si cela dietro l'apparente linearità del mondo.Un libro da leggere, che attraverso una serie di racconti, tocca in modo del tutto originale i temi universali che accompagnano l'esistenza di ogni uomo:il dolore,il destino,la morte,la pazzi ...more
Birdbath Birdbath
When I began reading Borges, I desperately tried to “get” him. Now, I'm not simply swept away on a rhetorical magic carpet, whizzing through the cosmos, questioning reality and wondering if my brain is sitting in a jar somewhere. A present read elicits a laugh. Borges ridicules himself by revealing the writer's impossible task of describing the indescribable, the absurdity of doing (seriously) what cannot be done, the apparent pretentiousness that inevitably accompanies the act of writing (super ...more
Kevin
Once again I find myself at a loss for the words I really want to use, and this loss is magnified by having just read half of this book. Borges has an incredible ability to find exactly the right word for the moment, the sentence, the entire story. Some of these shorts are masterful examples of eschewing needless words. For example, The Dead Man is an entire Cormac McCarthy border trilogy novel distilled - and I mean distilled, in the sense of heating and bubbling and reducing - down to six page ...more
Amanda
I cannot remember who the first person was who recommended Borges to me. All I know is that there were many, and they spanned a string of years. I put off actually following up on these recommendations for many reasons, some legitimate, some not so much. The one I am most ashamed to admit is my discrimination towards the Spanish language.

I suppose it started back in high school, when I was one of the rare students studying French as opposed to Spanish. People would tell me, "Learn Spanish, it's
...more
Catherine
On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I ...more
Wellington Melo
Todo livro que pede um leitor. No caso dos livros de Borges, é preciso um leitor iniciado.
O livro O Aleph, junto com Ficções, é um dois melhores livros de Borges. Naturalmente a leitura de Borges não é para qualquer um, já que pressupõe um leitor com um nível cultural que permita perceber as ironias e os jogos labirínticos do autor, que ora assume o papel de personagem de seus próprios contos neste joguete ficcional-fictício, ora lança teorias tão estapafúrdias como inexistentes, ora dá piscadel
...more
Bàrbara
No se confunda intelectual con pedante. El Aleph pertenece al segundo grupo.
Simon
There are few authors in the canon of world literature I consider literary soulmates as much as J. L. Borges, despite me being almost a hundred years younger and Danish instead of Argentine in cultural background. Not only do I find the oeuvres of few others to encapsulate the sheer joy of not just learning and reading as he does, but his pet obsessions overlap so much with mine: All sorts of obscure mythological, occult, philosophical and religious traditions; the rise and fall of historical cu ...more
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Goodreads Italia: L'Aleph di Jorge Luis Borges - Commenti e discussione 30 150 Feb 23, 2014 07:45AM  
O meu Aleph (book club): Os teólogos 1 9 Apr 28, 2013 02:10AM  
O meu Aleph (book club): O morto 1 5 Mar 09, 2013 01:20PM  
O meu Aleph (book club): O Imortal 11 17 Feb 27, 2013 11:23PM  
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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 Collected Fictions Selected Poems The Book of Sand and Shakespeare's Memory

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“A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.” 156 likes
“There are those who seek the love of a woman to forget her, to not think about her.” 60 likes
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