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The Invention of Morel

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  7,437 ratings  ·  567 reviews
Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of the Screw and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Set on a mysterious island, Bioy's novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious.

Inspired by Bioy Casares's
Paperback, 103 pages
Published August 31st 2003 by NYRB Classics (first published 1940)
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Stoner by John WilliamsChess Story by Stefan ZweigA High Wind in Jamaica by Richard HughesThe Summer Book by Tove JanssonThe Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
New York Review Books - Classics
5th out of 398 books — 396 voters
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Latina/Latino Fiction
32nd out of 504 books — 764 voters

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Community Reviews

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mai ahmd
عندما تكتب عن رواية فاتنة فيجب أن تعطي نفسك فرصة لكي تلتقط الأنفاس وتستحضر الصور والمشاهد والأفكار .. ليس كل الروايات تستحق ولا كلها تعطيك هذه البهجة البهجة التي تأتي محملة بالكثير من التصورات والأفكار بعد قرائتها
هذه مقدمة لا بد منها يستحقها أدولفو كاساريس .. لأنه كاتب مختلف ولأنه كاتب فنتازي أعطى هالة من الغموض ليتيح المجال للعديد من التفسيرات كاتب لا يسهل عليك الأمر يدفعك للتفكير وأنا أحب ذلك ..

كتبت هذه الرواية على شكل يوميات لبطل الرواية هوامشها جزء من الحكاية
تدور أحداثها في جزيرة معزولة لا
Rakhi Dalal

The incomprehensibility of an idea is what makes man delve deeper into it. The more challenging the idea the more fascination it holds. For as long as mankind can remember, the idea of death and immortality has intrigued minds, making man wish to conquer death and to become immortal. Philosophy, science and religion maintain views which suggest some interesting thoughts for contemplation. But since ‘death’ still remains unconquerable, man somehow tries to deceive it by leaving behind works of im
Bill  Kerwin

"The Invention of Morel" is a romantic classic in which passion triumphs over convention, a surrealist classic in which imagination triumphs over reality, a science fiction classic in which technology triumphs over time, and a mystery story whose fantastic resolution always plays fair with the reader.

Is corporeality necessary for human personality? Is community possible even in isolation? Can love survive death and--perhaps what is worse--complete indifference? Bioy Casares novel addresses all
What a great little book!

Casares comes as close here as a writer possibly could to successfully mixing literary fiction with elements of science fiction. I feel like there is very little that I can say about the plot without spoiling it. Over the first thirty pages I was convinced that this was merely a ghost story – more specifically the ghost story that inspired Shyamalan’s whole “I see dead people” thing. Casares totally surprised me at that point by taking the story in a direction that I ha
am i jackass? a moron?

this is a perfectly good book. and a guy spending months on a sun dappled island amongst three dimensional phantoms re-enacting a single weekend is sublime. but this:

“the most complete and total perception not only of the unreality of the world but of our own unreality: not only do we traverse a realm of shadows, we ourselves are shadows.”

that’s octavio paz. and paz is a badasss. a serious badass. and borges – maybe the biggest badass that has ever lived – called this nove
Floating Reviews and the Television Show Lost

I just went through my update feed looking to see what my friends have been doing. I see reviews and things I should pay some attention to, but I'm not quite that self-reflexive yet that I will write reviews only about what I'm doing at the moment on Instead I would like to make an observation of how my update feed mirrors this book.

For the past few days just about every morning and early evening that I chec
I wish I hadn’t read the back of The Invention of Morel before I read the novel. Once I read that Borges, Paz, etc. loved this book I felt like I had to like it. Too much pressure.

Fortunately, I think the The Invention of Morel is strong enough that I would have been a fan without any background knowledge. The book is narrated by a fugitive marooned on an island to which the tides carried him after his escape. A house, chapel, and museum occupy the otherwise-deserted island. Soon, however, peop
Glenn Russell
The Invention of Morel was adjudged a perfect work by Jorge Luis Borges, the author’s mentor/friend/frequent collaborator. Anybody familiar with the essays and short fiction of Borges can appreciate what it would mean for one of the great masters of world literature to make such a pronouncement. Perhaps part of Borges’s appraisal reflects how Adolfo Bioy Casares does indeed share much of his same aesthetic and literary sensibilities (after all, they collaborated on 12 books). More specifically, ...more
Nora Dillonovich
This is the kind of book one reads from cover to cover in one sitting (or before bed, and then finishes on the bus in the morning). This is true for a variety of reasons: the length, the mystery evoked in the first twenty or so pages, and the pacing of the narration for the last half.

The narration is haunting, the island where the action (the endless, repetitive action), the events transpire, is eerie, somewhat vague.
The Love (the emotion or obsession or sentiment or consuming need- I dont kno
Terminei há dias este livro e fiquei com a sensação de que não o tinha lido com a dedicação que ele merecia. Como tem pouco mais de 100 páginas, não me assaltou o desespero pela falta de tempo, e reli-o, hoje, sem intrometer entre mim e ele outras leituras.
De facto Jorge Luis Borges tem razão: "não me parece uma imprecisão ou uma hipérbole classificá-lo como perfeito."

Trata-se do diário de um foragido que se refugia numa ilha deserta. Passado um tempo descobre que não está sozinho. Aí conhece F
MJ Nicholls
Lacking in the satirical surrealism found in his later (and some say lesser) NYRB book Asleep in the Sun, unfortunately this one failed to sustain my attention despite forty pages of anticipatory eagerness. The narrator, nameless, mooches around an island spying on a gypsy woman and is evicted from her presence by bearded Frenchmen. Naturally, she is beautiful, naturally he falls in love with her, then something happens to do with photographs and people dying and I didn’t understand most of it, ...more
A charming little narrative which lulls you into thinking it's 'just another adventure story' and then throws a few genuinely shocking twists at you. I won't reveal their nature, as that would genuinely spoil the book, but let's just say that Philip K. Dick would enjoy this idea as much as Borges or Paz.
Camille Stein

Ilustración. A5. Bolígrafo. | Alba Ruiz De Miguel -

Todo se ha perdido: la vida con la mujer, la soledad pasada. Sin refugio perduro en este monólogo que, desde ahora, es injustificable.

En la soledad es imposible estar muerto.

Pero debo convencerme: no necesito huir. Vivir con las imágenes es una dicha. Si llegan los perseguidores, se olvidarán de mí ante el prodigio de esta gente inaccesible. Me quedaré.

El narrador de Adolfo Bioy Casares, aunque anclado en una isla supuest
Ebrahim Abdulla
بعد محاولات لم تنجح كثيراً، تعتبر "اختراع موريل" الرواية التي سلّطت الأضواء على أدولفو بيوي كاساريس، لدرجة وصلت لأن يصفها صديقه بورخيس بالرواية الكاملة، وإلهامها لكثير من كتّاب أمريكا اللاتينية ومن أهمهم ماركيز. على الرغم من عدد صفحاتها القليل، إلا أنني قرأت الرواية على فترات متقطعة لأيام، وعانيت بعض الشي أثناء القراءة، ولا أدري إن كانت المشكلة في الترجمة، أم في أسلوب الكاتب، أم في الاثنين معاً؟ (المُترجم دوّن ملاحظة في بداية الكتاب عن صعوبة الأسلوب)، لهذا اضطررت لمشاهدة فيلم إيطالي أٌنتج في الس ...more
At first this book was good but a little predictable. It felt like Last Year at Marienbad. Then it started to feel a little like Celine and Julie Go Boating. These are both great films that I love, so I didn't mind. But the book definitely differs from these in interesting ways, and I really loved the last 30 pages or so. I haven't read Borge's introduction to it yet, but he is so predictable for loving it: it's got most of the signature things in a Borges story: mirrors, reproduction, the fact ...more
Beautifully written, completely original and demands a second and third reading. I understand why Borges was over the moon about this novella. Now I want to watch all of the movies that this story spawned.
رواية كتبها الكاتب الأرجنتيني أدولفو كاساريس عام 1940, ووصفها بورخيس في المقدمة بأنها تصل إلى حد الكمال
رجل يهرب من حكم بالسجن إلى جزيرة غير مأهولة,ويكتب يومياته ومشاهداته إلى أن يفاجأ بوجود آخرين معه على الجزيرة
الهروب كان جزء من شخصية بطل الرواية فاختار في النهاية أيضا الهروب لعالم الصورة ووهم الحب عن مواجهة الوحدة والصعوبات في عالم الواقع
الرواية عادية في البداية , لكن مع غموض الأحداث تصبح مشوقة أكثر, إلى أن تتضح الفكرة
تخليد حياة الانسان باختراع جهاز يصور الناس في حياتهم بكل أحداثها ويعرض الص
Apr 04, 2015 [P] rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: bitchin
I misread ‘the intimate forms of address’ as ‘the intimate forms of sadness,’ and liked it much better. I could recite word-for-word, without the book in my hand, but now, as I read it, I make mistakes. Before I found the book I spent a long time looking at photographs, studying them. I would stare at the faces and try to gauge their mood. Who amongst them were happy? Those who are smiling? That seems obvious, of course; but who can say with any certainty? You cannot know anyone but yourself. Fi ...more
Arthur Grunenwald
As a preliminary read for Borges' Ficciones , I read this evocative novella by Adolfo Bioy Casares; which the former author described as "a perfect novel" (7). This is one of the first (if not the first) book I've read that deals with multiple "realities", likewise one of the first science-fiction books I've read. The novella has impressed me in both respects.

Despite being a translation, Ruth L.C. Simms manages to render Casares' noticeably beautiful prose into English (as mentioned in Glenn Ru
Carolina Morales
It is almost impossible for me to write a true and honest review of this Masterpiece without talking a little about myself as a reader, in first place. I am the most critical, cynical and skeptical reviewer I ever had the displeasure of discussing a book with. I could apologise. I could try to deny it. I could even try to explain myself claiming I was born like this (which is true) or that I've been brought up by constant complaining about everything/whinning relatives (which is ALSO true), but ...more
The novella reputed to be a main source of inspiration for "Last Year at Marienbad," a reputation which is at once both entirely misleading and endlessly evocative. And also of great interest to me, as Casares's text does not immediately announce itself as the obvious source of inspiration, but instead present ideas and themes echo throughout Robbe-Grillet and Resnais's works, hinting at interpretations and angles that don't necessarily surface in the transplant from an unnamed tropical island t ...more
Chiara Pagliochini
“Non fu come se non mi avesse sentito, come se non mi avesse visto; ma come se le sue orecchie non servissero a sentire, i suoi occhi non servissero a vedere.”

Certe volte abbiamo la sensazione – anzi, la certezza – di essere invisibili. Abbiamo la certezza che qualunque cosa diciamo o facciamo non servirà a cambiare le cose. Abbiamo la certezza che i nostri sentimenti non arriveranno alla persona a cui sono destinati e, se anche arriveranno, che questa non li accoglierà. Abbiamo la certezza che
What an amazing novella! I can understand why Borges thought so highly of Bioy's writing.

A condemned man escapes to a deserted island, but is he alone? He sees people on the island, but they apparently don't see him. Is that part of their plan to capture him and return him to justice? Why are their actions so complex and repetitive? Has he become invisible from eating the wrong roots?

I this strange world, the man slowly unravels the secret of the island and the diabolical mechanisms of Morel's I
A character who could be straight out of Borges's "Universal History of Iniquities" takes refuge from the law on a deserted tropical island where he witnesses some pretty strange stuff (I'm trying to be vague here). What seems to begin as the story of a man's slow descent into paranoia turns into what seems like a ghost story before eventually becoming something entirely different - something that could have sprung from the mind of Gene Wolfe or Philip K. Dick on a good day.
Tanuj Solanki
Perhaps Borges destroyed Bioy Casares!

The writing of it should have been a risky adventure. But the diligence those risks evoked in a young Bioy Casares diverted his mind from everything else. While it is a book of metaphysical speculation, the artifice that enables that speculation - the titular invention - is a greater obsession for the writer, so much so that the justification of that artifice becomes the center of the novel. (Contrast this with Kafka, where rationale of the artifices is disp
I would have given this book 20 stars if it's allowed.

Do you know what The Invention of Morel has always reminded me of?

Somewhere In Time

And more importantly, Last Year At Marienbad

What the three book/movies mentioned about have in common? They are deeply romantic and imaginative.

What can be more romantic than a man risking it all to chase a woman he couldn't possibly be with; trying to win her affection against seemingly impossible odds? Even willingly paid a heavy price for his love?

The Inven

Es increíble este libro. Adolfo Bioy Casares construye una novela fantástica muy buena.

[Nuestro protagonista,al estar condenado a prisión, decide escaparse. Un vendedor italiano le cuenta que existe una isla dónde nadie se acerca porque dicen que hay una enfermedad que hace que todo aquél que llegue,tenga los síntomas característicos de estar expuesto a la radiación (caída de cabello, de piel, uñas etc). El fugitivo le pide que aún así el quiere escapar a esa isla, por lo que lo termin
This book did not becoming interesting until page 68 and what with only 103 pages, that makes for a less than satisfying start. But I suppose that’s what you get for choosing a book for its cover (it was a picture of Louise Brooks).
It’s about a fugitive who is hiding on a now-deserted island whose inhabitants are said to have died from a mysterious disease. A group of tourists show up on the island for a holiday and the company-starved fugitive is torn between wanting to know them and fearing th
Mostly disappointing, despite moments of glory. But mainly I would've loved this one if it hadn't been a chore to keep my eyes on the page. I didn't care about the narrator or the situation or the prose, and therefore wasn't really engaged until the last twenty-five pages (of 103), post-revelation of the island's dealio. Smart, imaginative, and adventuresome, with simple and sometimes unpredictable sentences potentially open to all sorts of interesting speculation/theorizing, but I'm not even cl ...more
Jorge Luis Borges called it perfect, as did the Mexican poet Octavio Paz. The Invention of Morel by Argentine novelist Adolfo Bioy Casares is a fantastical novella, a carefully constructed conceit. Spare and tautly plotted, this work of “reasoned imagination,” as Borges described it, is the offspring of the speculative fiction of H.G. Wells, the adventure stories of Robert Louis Stevenson and the theological detective stories of G.K. Chesterton. Not coincidentally, it also echoes the themes of B ...more
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Winner of the Gran Premio de Honor da Sociedad Argentina de Escritores (1975), the Cervantes Award (1990) and the Légion d’Honneur da França (1981), Adolfo Bioy Casares (Buenos Aires, 1914-1999) is one of the main writes of the XX century. Also a journalist and translator, he was a friend and collaborator with his fellow countryman Jorge Luis Borges, with whom he wrote six books and created the ch ...more
More about Adolfo Bioy Casares...
Asleep in the Sun The Dream of Heroes Diary of the War of the Pig La invención de Morel / El gran Serafín Historias fantásticas

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“And the reason I am so nervous is that everything I do now is leading me to one of three possible futures... Which one will it be? Time alone will tell. But still I know that writing this diary can perhaps provide the answer; it may even help produce the right future.” 16 likes
“No fue como si no me hubiera oído, como si no me hubiera visto; fue como si los oídos que tenía no sirvieran para oír, como si los ojos no sirvieran para ver.” 9 likes
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