Jun 21, 09
smart literary types
Read in June, 2009, read count: 1
At the risk of hearing Erok and Shaun bemoan yet again that I'm some kind of Goodreads curvebuster--- I finished reading another book. I picked this one up on a lark in Ann Arbor, having not brought anything to read on a beautiful summer's day. Some of my friends are into Borges, so I gave this one a try.
It's a compilation of short stories that apparently he wrote later in his life. Many of these are very short--- one and two pages. At first I was a little worried because there are a lot of literary and philosophical references that I'm not well-read enough to really understand. I worried that I wasn't smart enough for this book. In the end though, I let the intellectual stuff wash over me when I couldn't grasp it and came to appreciate the poetic moments, of which there are many.
The stories are kind of all over the map, but a few general themes come out: questioning the existence of the self, the relationship between fiction and life, and the sense of purpose in one's life. He also refers to tigers and labyrinths a lot. It's hard to speak of a narrative in this case, because the stories all have different characters in them, and only rarely are there inter-story references, and these are mainly thematic rather than direct.
"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 that patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face."