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Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  27,336 ratings  ·  1,367 reviews
Although his work has been restricted to the short story, the essay, and poetry, Jorge Luis Borges of Argentina is recognized all over the world as one of the most original and significant figures in modern literature. In his preface, Andre Maurois writes: "Borges is a great writer who has composed only little essays or short narratives. Yet they suffice for us to call him ...more
Paperback, English/Spanish Expanded ed., 256 pages
Published 1964 by New Directions (first published 1962)
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Keith Mitchell Read Marquez and Italo Calvino and the best Kafka. If you saw Birdman you saw Ed Norton reading a copy of Borges's Labyrinths while tanning.
Luke Albao A person can be a philosopher about any particular pursuit. Someone who is an avid swimmer might be able to find some secrets to the universe in the r…moreA person can be a philosopher about any particular pursuit. Someone who is an avid swimmer might be able to find some secrets to the universe in the rhythm of the stroke. A runner could spend his every run meditating on how much the human race owes to its evolved ability to run for long distances.

The thing to know about Borges is that he was a librarian. He loved books like Van Gogh loved color, and almost everything he writes stems from that.(less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
441. Labyrinths, Jorge Luis Borges
Labyrinths (1962) is a collection of short stories and essays by Jorge Luis Borges.
It includes "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", "The Garden of Forking Paths", and "The Library of Babel", three of Borges' most famous stories. Many of the stories are from the collections Ficciones (1944) and El Aleph (1949).
هزارتوهای بورخس - خورخه لوئیس بورخس (کتاب زمان) ادبیات؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 2006 میلادی
عنوان: هزارتوهای بورخس؛ نویسنده: خورخه لوئیس بورخس؛ مترجم: احمد میرعل
...more
Lisa
"You who read me, are You sure of understanding my language?"

Borges would have been the first to point out that an answer in the affirmative to his own question would be a likely sign that the reader indeed had understood nothing of any importance. So I won't make any claims. I did however experience something approaching perfect reading pleasure, - fully aware that perfection is unlikely to be approved by Borges - being too static, unchangeable, and definitive.

Halfway through the essay colle
...more
Glenn Russell
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing


The stories, essays and parables in this Borges collection, with all their esoteric references to multiple histories, cultures and literatures, are no more likely to appeal to a casual reader then a textbook on cognitive psychology. To extract literary gold from highly intricate, complex works like The Garden of Forking Paths, Emma Zunz, The Library of Babel or The Zahir requires careful multiple readings as well as a willingness to occasionally investigate terms and references, for example here
...more
karen
why haven't i read borges before?? no one knows. and he was always pushed upon me - "how can you like marquez if you haven't read borges??" "you like donoso - you should read borges." "machado is good, but you should read borges." so - fine - i did. and i am utterly underwhelmed. so there. i am learning during my "summer of classix" that most of the books i have for some reason or another overlooked were probably overlooked for a reason. i naturally gravitate towards what i like - and i seem to ...more
Samadrita
A university professor had once expounded on the supposed conflict between history and literature, the former bemoaning the irrelevance of the latter when it comes to tracing the contours of reality while the latter countering this accusation by deploying the well-known defense of 'there's no one way of looking at the truth'.

Indeed. Why restrict ourselves to just the one way and the one reality? Why overlook the truth of infinite permutations and combinations of each eventuality and each one of
...more
Rakhi Dalal
On his religious views, Borges declared himself as an agnostic, clarifying: "Being an agnostic means all things are possible, even God, even the Holy Trinity. This world is so strange that anything may happen, or may not happen"*

It feels kind of strange to quote this after my initial brush with “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins where he refutes an agnostic stance vis-à-vis an atheist one. But I find myself adhering here with Borges. Why to rob an already incomprehensible world of its myriad
...more
Jr Bacdayan
Aug 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
‘Tlön is surely a labyrinth, but it is a labyrinth devised by men, a labyrinth destined to be deciphered by men.’

Labyrinths is a collection of short stories, essays, and other literary works. It is my first experience with Borges, but it shall not be the last.

Borges writes but he does more than that. He’s a chimaera, part philosopher, part academic, part historian, and part bibliognost. His vast accumulated knowledge penetrates his work to create meta fiction that feels truly authentic, thus o
...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
A perfect book to buy for your early-teens little sister right when she starts showing interest in the opposite sex. Goes great in a Christmas bundle right along with Twilight, Gossip Girl, etc. Moms and pops and big brothers and sisters, make note! The holidays are right around the corner, after all...

(view spoiler)
...more
Aubrey
Reading. No, thought. No, reality. Or, fiction? Fiction. But also time, and faith, and metonymy.

How close is the instantaneous you to the you in context with time, space, and the integration over the infinite?

What? What.

The what is the period of time wherein I grew fed up with the knowing and began to contemplate the thinking, unknown and yet rather persistent seeing as it continues to niggle at me. Knowing helps, of course, in the foundations of common thought from which propagates communicati
...more
Sidharth Vardhan
Doctor Who visits Argentina

The TARDIS appears in a wheat Farm. Doctor Who and his hot assistant come out of it. "But what are doing in Argentina?"

Doctor replies"I lost my Sonic screwdriver was lost in labyrinths of time." and becomes quit as if the explanation is enough.

Impatient she tries again, "So, how do you know it is to be found in Argentina of 70s?"

"I don't where my screwdriver is. I can't find a thing in labyrinths of time, it is labyrinths of time for goodness sake. Only one pers
...more
Leonard
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jorge Luis Borges, one of the most imaginative writers I have come across, could have been a mathematician, a physicist, a philosopher or a theologian. I can see his influence on Umberto Eco in the manipulation of text and the blending between fiction and reality. To read Borges’s Labyrinth is immerse myself in a magical world where the concept of infinity manifests in space and time, where the boundary between dream and reality fades, where the past and the future converge into an instant, wher ...more
Tara
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-list
”This City is so horrible that its mere existence and perdurance, though in the midst of a secret desert, contaminates the past and the future and in some way even jeopardizes the stars. As long as it lasts, no one in the world can be strong or happy. I do not want to describe it; a chaos of heterogeneous words, the body of a tiger or a bull in which teeth, organs and heads monstrously pullulate in mutual conjunction and hatred can (perhaps) be approximate images.”

In Labyrinths, Borges meand
...more
Ben Winch
For a few years in my early-20s I was obsessed with this book. Some of these stories I have read probably 10 times. The opening story ('Tlon, Uqbar, Orbius Tertius') is one of the most challenging, rewarding mind-f**ks in all literature. Borges's style is limited - this becomes clearer in his later work - but for me this collection is well-chosen. Rarely has so much innovation been crammed into so short a space - but innovation of the controlled kind. No displays of histrionics for this Argentin ...more
Mark Becher
Sep 22, 2007 rated it liked it
Borges typically gets lumped into the South American "magical realism" genre along with the likes of Gabriel Garcia Marquez (whom I've still yet to read; shame on me). But his style is very peculiar. The book is supposed to be a collection of short stories, or as Borges himself called them, ficciones. But few of them are what one would typically consider stories at all. They tend to be short fictional essays, book reviews, obituaries, articles, etc. (There's also a detective story and a couple o ...more
Jonathan Terrington

Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges not only possessed one mouthful of a name but a great literary talent. There is much that could be criticised in his manner and style, in many of his pieces his 'fictions' come across as formulaic, mathematical and structured, which at times fails to allow emotion to be properly conveyed. Yet Borges was a conscious and thinking author, despite appearing to err on the logical side of the writing spectrum, addressing his fictional work as a means to explore deep
...more
Henry Martin
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My first Borges book, or shall I say, "My first Borges experience!"

Labyrinths is broken down to three sections: Fictions, Essays, and Parables. It starts complicated enough with the first story, and despite the false appearance to grow simpler, it gets more complicated as the book progresses. These are not short stories; these are conundrums blending fact, fiction, reality, and dreams. I cannot begin to fathom the amount of research that went to his stories, as even today, with the World Wide We
...more
Brian
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Mind-blowingly awesome. I only wish that for the first book that I read of Borges that it was either all short stories or all essays; I had difficulty making the transition from the last story to the first essay because the lyrical cadence of his writing style made his beautifully written essays seem almost fictive. The parables at the very end of the compilation were the cherries on top. Borges' love of all things Quixote makes me want to hunker down with that book and read, re-read, and re-re- ...more
Erik Graff
May 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Michael Miley
Shelves: literature
This is the first Borges book I ever read. Since then, of course, he's died and all of his short stories have been collected in English. Mike Miley, the person who spends more money on books than anyone I've ever known (and is very generous in sharing them), purchased that complete collection, bringing it up to the cottage in Michigan during his last visit. When I saw it amidst Michael's travel bags (a small one for clothes, a big one for books and papers) I immediately asked if I could have at ...more
Elise
Why hasn't anyone smacked me over the head with a copy and said, "Read this, dummy"? I want to live in his brain.
Jan
Did you ever wonder where the ideas came from for The Matrix, for Inception, and other amazing fantasies? Borges

Borges is unique; a metaphysician schooled in the classics and 19th century English literature, and with a very gifted imagination. His short stores – and he wrote no novels – are concise, elegant, ambiguous, highly imaginative, and often require several readings to catch the multiple meanings.

Borges’ references to labyrinths probably are intended to convey how complex and puzzling th
...more
Emily M
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The master of pardox. The master of the story that goes where you could not possibly imagine it would go. The master of stories that go nowhere, that go in a circle, that reflect the story back at you. Endlessly erudite, endlessly questioning, sometimes a bit pesado, sometimes more to be admired than to be enjoyed, sometimes to be fully, thrillingly enjoyed.

The Borgesian logic has been good company for three strange months. I had read some stories before but never so many nor with such concentr
...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Borges miniature masterpieces reverberate with the vastness of his imagination, each short stories is a snapshot of both his endless erudition and vast imagination, as vast as the eternity which Jaromir is trapped in as he composes his masterpiece before the firing squad, as multifarious as the Judas who occupies the mind of Nile Runeberg and as mysterious as the enigmatic planet Tlon; just as Pierre Menard’s plagiarising of Don Quixote creates a richer version of the original as he suffuses his ...more
Brian
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jorge Luis Borges didn’t know if he existed.

“Why does it disturb us that the map be included in the map and the thousand and one nights in the book ‘The Thousand and One Nights?’ Why does it disturb us that Don Quixote be a reader of the ‘Quixote’ and Hamlet a spectator of Hamlet? I believe I have found the reason: the inversions suggest that if the characters of a fictional work can be readers or spectators, we, its readers or spectators, can be fictitious. In 1833, Carlyle observed that the hi
...more
Michael Perkins
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This volume contains a fascinating piece about Don Quixote called "A Problem"....

What would happen, wonders Borges, if due to his belief in these fantasies, Don Quixote attacks and kills a real person? Borges asks a fundamental question about the human condition: what happens when the yarns spun by our narrating self cause grievous harm to ourselves or those around us? There are three main possibilities, says Borges.

One option is that nothing much happens. Don Quixote will not be bothered at all
...more
Praveen
May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-s, classics
Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges, this book is divided in three parts; FICTION, ESSAYS and PARABLES. Basically all this three sections comprises of STORIES OF IDEAS with the blend fact and fiction. Jorge Luis Borges seeks neither truth nor likelihood; he seeks astonishment by using metaphysics as a branch of the literature of fantasy (Like he quoted in his "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"). He uses themes of philosophy, politics, economics, mathematics etc and raises “n” number of paradoxes which i ...more
David Sarkies
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
One Man's Search for Divine Truth
2 February 2018 – Phi Phi Island.

This is another of those book that a friend's Goodreads' review caught my interest, and imagine my surprise when I discovered it sitting on my shelf. Normally, once I have read the review, and marked the book as 'to read' I generally forget about them, namely because there are simply too many books on my too read list to be able to remember when I am browsing a bookshop. Okay, I could always whip out my phone and have a look at t
...more
Josh
Feb 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Theseus
A labyrinth is a structure of indeterminate size made up of walls that twist and turn into the unknown, loop back around to familiar corridors and terminate in impassible cul-de-sacs. Unlike a maze – a game with an achievable goal – labyrinths are built with the intent of getting and keeping its occupants irrevocably lost.

It’s kind of how I felt reading Jorge Luis Borges’ Labyrinths.

That isn’t a bad thing, mind you. Borges’ storytelling is complex and dense, and some of the stories required a s
...more
Sunny
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Yes very impressive in places and in others unfortunately I just don’t got the grey muscle mass to understand some of his lyrical perfectionisms. This is a collection of short stories by Borges. He implies in places that life is too short so why write a 300,000 word tome when you can express the sentiment you wish to express in a few hundred words? There is one short story called the immortal which was worth reading the entire book for. That essay does what it says on the tin. What Borges does i ...more
Jim
How can I reasonably be expected to review a book which, over a space of some forty-five years, has become central to my existence? Ever since I was first introduced to Jorge Luis Borges in a New Yorker review around 1969-70, when Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings and Ficciones were first published in the United States.

Since then, I have been following Borges's leads, which have led to to visit Iceland and Argentina (twice each), to read G.K. Chesterton's essays and fictions, to lo
...more
Ioana
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Unlimited Stars/5. This is IT, this is The Writer next to which any other pales in comparison. This is The One I have been searching for my entire life, this is the One I thought too extraordinary to exist. The BBC, in declaring Borges the most important writer of the 20th century, declares "reading the work of Jorge Luis Borges for the first time is like discovering a new letter in the alphabet, or a new note in the musical scale." That is a vast understatement. Reading Borges is like discoveri ...more
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Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo, usually referred to as Jorge Luis Borges (Spanish pronunciation: [xoɾxe lwis boɾxes]), was an Argentine writer and poet born in Buenos Aires. In 1914, his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school and traveled to Spain. On his return to Argentina in 1921, Borges began publishing his poems and essays in Surrealist literary journals. He also wo ...more

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