David's Reviews > Ficciones

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
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Jun 29, 08

Read in June, 2008

The peer pressure from my intellectually superior friends finally shamed me into reading this (as I had no Borges under my belt). Obviously from the 5 stars, I'm glad I caved in. This is a collection of 17 of his "best" short stories, held together merely by the thread that they are like nothing else you've ever read or even thought about.

Not every story is perfection, but all are surprising, irritating, challenging and somehow rewarding. Standouts are "Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote" - a man who dedicates much of his life to the recreation of Don Quixote word for word, a stunningly insightful satire. Also, "The Circular Ruins" which challenges the reality of religion and even self-awareness. "Funes, the Memorious" about a man cursed with perfect memory, and "The South", a somewhat autobiographical and deceptively simple narrative that is actually an experiment in structure.

Borges uses very direct, sparse but extremely detailed language. His characters are full baked from the beginning, so he wastes no time on development - it's all about the idea, the innovation, not the plot. If you read one of these tales out of context you might mistake it for a non-fictional essay, albeit with quirks.

Anyway, I'm recommending this to anyone who doesn't mind risking confusion and discomfort in the the pursuit of something truly unique and intellectually delicious.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Hank Thanks for the recommendation; I need to broaden my horizons and this may just be the thing.


message 2: by Christopher (new) - added it

Christopher Chambers I slightly misread the last paragraph as 'mind-risking confusion'..


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