Hairybrew's Reviews > The Aleph & Other Stories 1933-69

The Aleph & Other Stories 1933-69 by Jorge Luis Borges
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Sep 12, 2010

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Read from September 11 to 12, 2010

It's probably unfair to rate a collection of stories as it has changed since this edition. I read the 20 stories in my edition, but didn't complete the Autobiography – I plan to at some point. Having never read any of Borges work before, I had a false impression of what I expected (more fantasy fiction) based on hearing the author's name come up amongst family and friends.

After reading the summary of the current version of this book I had to scratch my head... Nazi sympathizer? What the hell? Did I sleep through a story? On comparing the edition contents, my edition did not have "Deutches Requiem," "The Zahir" and some other titles as well. In the newer edition I noticed "Streetcorner Man" is not in the newer edition. The omission of "Streetcorner Man" would make sense since Borges criticizes it as "hardly a good one" in "The Challenge" (also in The Aleph) in which he tells the visceral tale that helped him work out that story. He recounts how a man whose hand is sliced off almost completely at the wrist "lays the bleeding hand on the ground, clamps it down under his boot, tears it off" then proceeds to win the battle.

What stood out for me in this collection in my hand was a running theme of daggers and knife fighting gauchos. On the flip-side there is "The Aleph," "The Circular Ruins," and a couple other stories which introduce fantastical visions in completely different contexts.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I'm curious now to read the newer edition containing omissions and additions to The Aleph and Other Stories.

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09/11/2010 page 106
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Bart Everson I enjoyed reading (my edition of) The Aleph. The translator's introduction did note Borges' propensity for messing with his anthologies, adding, shuffling and removing stories.

Yet, on balance, I think Ficciones is a much better collection, especially with regard to "fantastical visions."

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