Frankie's Reviews > Ficciones

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
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Sep 17, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: latino
Read from September 14 to 17, 2011

A joy to read. Borges uses a lot of overlapping, nearly science fiction themes like anachronism, multiple dimensions and ironic paradox. His prologues to each of the two collections are helpful, and I found myself referring back to them for clues. His overt details, proper names and places, leave you wondering what you missed. Overall he doesn't take himself too seriously in the face of his more complex ideas, something of which a writer of ingenuity is often guilty. It's fascinating to see fresh, creative ideas emerge from generations ago. His twists are Bierce-like, highly original and unexpected.

The most interesting effect of a few of these stories, at its height in "Tlon…", is his commentary approach to a secondary fiction within the story. These stories specifically remind me of Poe in his Arthur J. Pym novel. A journalistic delivery with a hint of magical realism. The infinity principal comes into play in every tale of the first half, in fact. Other themes arrive through allegory: Babylon as the primal human race, books as people and the library as universe, fiction vs truth, existentialism and nihilism. In "Three Versions of Judas" he theorizes the deification of Judas over Jesus by virtue of his humanity. "The Form of the Sword" is my favorite, even though I suspected the ending, as it was delivered so perfectly. All of his interlaced motifs, even the secrets and the spy games, refer back to the truth motif.

The last three stories, added later (if you trust the second prologue), evolve into realism. "The Sect of the Phoenix" had me rereading and giving myself a headache trying to work it out. I suspect the answer, but won't spoil it for you.
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09/15 page 37
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05/11 marked as: read

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