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Collected Fictions

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4.59  ·  Rating details ·  18,594 ratings  ·  828 reviews
Jorge Luis Borges has been called the greatest Spanish-language writer of our century. Now for the first time in English, all of Borges' dazzling fictions are gathered into a single volume, brilliantly translated by Andrew Hurley. From his 1935 debut with The Universal History of Iniquity, through his immensely influential collections Ficciones and The Aleph, these enigmat ...more
Paperback, 565 pages
Published September 30th 1999 by Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition (first published 1975)
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Robin Hi Sandra,

Sorry, I missed your question until today!

I'm no expert about Latin American literature, but I can tell you why I think Borges is so great.…more
Hi Sandra,

Sorry, I missed your question until today!

I'm no expert about Latin American literature, but I can tell you why I think Borges is so great. First off, he was writing in the category of magic realism before Marquez. He laid the groundwork for all kinds of new possibilities by reviving the classic traditions, like the epics DON QUIXOTE, THE ODYSSEY, and then playing philosophical havoc with them. As far as I know, he was one of the first genre blenders. He fused metaphysical and fantastical elements with the real, seducing the reader to believe what he was writing by way of footnotes and historical references. All this, with a blend of irony, humor, lyricism, that make his work unforgettable. At least, to me :-).(less)
Laura LVD I would put that book into the non-fiction category. It is a catalogue of imaginary creatures from mythology but it doesnt follow a plot. I think it…moreI would put that book into the non-fiction category. It is a catalogue of imaginary creatures from mythology but it doesnt follow a plot. I think it must be in its "Collected Non Fictions" volume.(less)

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BlackOxford
Apr 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Humbled by the Word

The Master. What educated person could live without his factional fiction? Borges created a genre which itself is now a fact in Western culture. And that fact, inadequately but accurately put, is that words lie. They can lie beautifully and even beneficially, but they nevertheless lie. And we love them for it.

Words cannot reveal but oh how they direct one’s attention, often to opposing points of the compass. Words do not cut the world at its joints but separate off bits of re
...more
Cecily

For the last year or so, I've been working at a film studios.

As I wander around the site, what I find most fascinating is not star-spotting (they tend to be shielded from prying eyes anyway) but the many and varied pre-production activities needed to make the magic of cinema a reality: building sets and props; puppet-people in motion-capture suits; food carts for the crews; the whir of industrial generators; cabling for light and sound; the making of costumes, weapons and jewellery. Real, tang
...more
Glenn Russell
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing


There exists a relatively small amount of commentary on this short riddle-like tale written by the Argentinian fabulist Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). Perhaps the reasons have to do with the impenetrable, sphinxlike nature of the secret cult he speaks of and the existence of what Borges refers to as the Secret (that’s with a capital S) of this secret cult being, well, a secret. So, with all the secrecy, I will keep my comments brief. Below my comments I have included the tale itself.

From the to
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
"The South"* is perhaps my favorite story from this collection, as well as Borges’ himself. In the prologue to Artifices, Borges comments:
Of “The South,” which is perhaps my best story, let it suffice for me to suggest that it can be read as a direct narrative of novelistic events, and also in another way.
The main character is Juan Dahlmann, a mixture of German and Spanish ancestry, whose life is mundane but who dreams vaguely of a more romantic life, inspired by the Flores side of his heritage
...more
Dolors
Mar 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Lovers of puzzles
Shelves: read-in-2013
“You who read me, are You sure of understanding my language?” Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”

Even though I read Borges’s “Collected Fictions” in Spanish, my native tongue, I have to confess I didn’t understand half of it. Presumptuous of me to think I would. Famous for being the founder of postmodernist literature and influenced by the work of fantasists such Edgar Allan Poe and Franz Kafka, whom I adore, I was naive enough to assume I would be able to untangle Borges’s labyrinthin
...more
s.penkevich
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Do yourself a massive favor and read Borges. He can deliver more plot and twists in 2-5 pages than many authors do in 300. Every page will blow your mind as you loose yourself in the brilliant labyrinth of his words. Read it. Now.
Mala
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: The Brainy Ones


You who read me—are you certain you understand my language?

Imagine you are watching a highly recommended, multiple awards winning, foreign-language film- it's everything you expected it to be, then, suddenly, the subtitles stop working- how annoying! But you are hooked; you can't stop watching– welcome to the Borgesian Labyrinth!

The 'Collected Fictions' consists of the following nine collections- 'A Universal History of Iniquity', 'Fictions', 'Artifices', 'The Aleph', 'The Maker', 'In Praise of
...more
Lynne King
Islam tells us that on the unappealable Day of Judgement, all who have perpetrated images of living things will reawaken with their works, and will be ordered to blow life into them, and they will fail, and they and their works will be cast into the fires of punishment.

Only Borges could possibly have made such a statement at the beginning of a short story called “Covered Mirrors” under “The Maker” (1960) in this multi-faceted selection of mesmerizing and fascinating short stories.

Why I began wit
...more
Alex
Deep in Don Quixote, for a while I convinced myself that Cervantes had written the footnotes too, and the Quixote commentators the editor cited were actually made up by Cervantes. He messes with you like that: he plays so many tricks that you end up thinking anything is possible.

Four months later I pick up Borges, and...here he is doing exactly that. Writing essays about imaginary books, with footnotes pointing to other imaginary commenters on the same imaginary books. Layer on layer of fiction.
...more
Jonfaith
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fame is a form--perhaps the worst form--of incomprehension.

I can recall the first time I discovered the name Borges. That marks a near singular occasion. It was 1990 and I was thoroughly enjoying my Philosophy of Religion course and curious about nihilism. This engendered another retreat to the library and there on the opening page of some text was a quotation from this strange figure. It was a few minutes later when I had culled a number of texts from stacks. Like many a reader and a number of
...more
Markus
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jorge Luis Borges Collected Fictions
By Luis Borges (1899 -1986)

Newly translated by Andrew Hurley, this volume includes all ten editions from 1935 to 1975
of Luis Borges short stories.

Borges’ characters are murderers, knife fighters, throat slitters, liars, evil and violent, and in his favourite themes, we meet gauchos, Indians, blacks and mirrors, leopards, tigers, books, libraries, infinity and the human identity itself.

The majority of these ‘novelitas’ are inspirations from existing works of a
...more
Jason Koivu
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Reading Jorge Luis Borges's Collected Fictions is like being thrown into the ring with a merciless prize fighter, getting the shit kicked out of you, and loving every minute of it.

These pieces felt more like punches than short stories. Borges jabs to your head, jarring your brain with damning conversations with his future self, invented libraries of the Universe and stories that make you feel like a lost kid on your way to Algebra class but accidentally ending up in Trigonometry. Then he switche
...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
No one wants to get reading=assignments from a Review. But you’ve got one here. If Borges is not Required Reading, he is Highly Recommended Reading. Which amounts to the same thing.

Listen. Borges is one of those masters of the short form, one of those That without which not, as the scholastics may have it. He is pantheonic. Kafka? Beckett? Barthelme? Edgar Allen Poe? Yep. Borges is one of those guys. And you know how you know nothing about the history of English Literature if you don’t know Shak
...more
Trevor
Jul 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
When I was at university we had to read this guy. Look, to be honest I didn’t really like him at the time. He seemed pompous and too clever by half. I liked some of his stuff – the story that begins this collection ‘Borges and I’ is marvelous and even that younger version of me could see just how great that was as a piece of writing. I’ll see if I can’t attach it to the end of this.

When I tried to read Labyrinths I became increasingly confused and annoyed. He was talking about endless libraries
...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
I've reviewed each segment of this collection separately:

A Universal History of Iniquity

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

The Garden of Forking Paths

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Artifices

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

The Aleph and Other Stories

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

In Praise of Darkness

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

The Maker

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Brodie's Report

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

The Book of Sand

https://
...more
Nathaniel
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: semifiction
My favorite tidbit about Borges is that he has been written into other authors' stories more than just about any other 20th century author. Neil Gaiman's Destiny and his Garden of Forking Paths, Umberto Eco's mad monk Jorge of Burgos, Zampanò from House of Leaves - and those are just the ones I've come across in my own reading. I'm sure the real Borges (should one miraculously manage to find him distinct from all the "false" Borgeses) would be amused to find that he has become an archetype. But ...more
Faek
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm in a park of some sort, I can't open my right eye and it feels heavy, I see an old man dressed In black tuxedo suit sitting on a bench looking straight towards me but not at me. it's like I'm invisible to him but he still somehow can see me, his phone's ringing nonstop but he don't seem to care, He waves his stick towards me and I go to him and sit beside him.

-Do you see this hole behind me ?
I wasn't aware of any hole a moment ago but as I turn back there's a black hole of some sort.
- Yes
...more
Junta
Apr 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Knife fighters, gauchos, writers, translators, kings, warriors, mysterious women, poets, gods.
May 13, 2015

I saw by the digital panel on the microwave that it was past eleven. I began walking back towards my room with my glass of water. I experienced, as I had at other times in the past, the resignation and relief we are made to feel several weeks before final exams, and final paper due dates of the semester. For a procrastinator, the rational mind knows that the most important thing is to get some study done each day - however, his natural, or shall we say primal instincts are unmatched
...more
Ben Winch
One of the most famous lines in Spanish literature is this: Nadie lo vio desembarcar an la unanime noche: “No-one saw him slip from the boat in the unanimous night...”

(‘A Note on the Translation’, from Selected Stories, by Andrew Hurley)

‘No-one saw him disembark in the unanimous night...’

(‘The Circular Ruins’, from Labyrinths, translated by James E. Irby)

Now I’ll admit I don’t know much about translation , nor do I read Spanish, but I feel sure that Hurley’s translation is far from literal. Whe
...more
Szplug
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
There are few other writers whose work has lingered in my mind to the same degree as has Borges. His short stories are a metaphysical perfume whose aroma, so startling and heady upon the first inhalation, arises, unbidden, at certain points of thought or recollection, working its peculiar and powerful transformative and transfigurative memes upon the seemingly stolid principles that order our universe. The Library of Babel wrenches the brain like a sudden stop upon a dreamy hexagonal rollercoast ...more
Biswajit Chakraborty
“বোরহেসের পরতি আমার পরবল অনুরাগ, পরতি রাতে তাঁর লেখা পড়ি। বুয়েনোস আইরেস থেকে একটিমাতর জিনিসই কিনেছি আমি আর তা হল বোরহেসের রচনাসমগর। আমি যেখানেই যাই আমার সযুটকেসের ভেতর খনডগুলি থাকে, পরতিদিন পড়ি, এবং তিনি এমন একজন লেখক যাকে অপছনদ করি; কিনতু পাশাপাশি, তাঁর গলপগুলি ফাঁদতে গিয়ে তিনি যে সুর আর সবর বাঁধেন সেটা আমার ভীষণ পছনদ।”-গযাবরিয়েল গারসিয়া মারকেজ

এই বই সেই বই নানা বই পড়ার ফাঁকে অনেক সাহস করে একদিন ধরে ফেললাম হোরহে লুইস বোরহেসের “Collected Fictions” বা সমগর কথাসাহিতয। আর পড়ে গেলাম এক গোলকধাঁধায়। প
...more
Yulia
Sep 03, 2007 rated it liked it
Borges is a literary mathematician but he has no understanding of the human heart. Still, it's impossible not to be curious what his equations create.
Justin Evans
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
"Hey guys, what's going on?"
"The party's over. That, Justin, is how late to the party you are. It is over."

I have no idea why it took me so long to get to Borges. Perhaps because I mostly read second hand books, and nobody trades in his books? Perhaps because I spent a solid portion of my youth believing that only tremendously depressing books could be interesting? Perhaps because, had I read him before now, I would have been enraged at his disinterest in politics and then his proud 'liberalism
...more
Mara
Sep 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I had to return this to the library before I could fully finish it, but it gave me some real "food for thought" as they say, when it comes to writing. Borges breaks every writing rule in the book, "Show don't tell", "Center on your protagonist" "Begin with action, not exposition" and shows that the rules are for neophytes to "tolerable-up" their writing, not for a master whose rare gift transcends any finger-waggling from stuffy rule-makers. Borges writes like a fascinating dinner party guest wh ...more
Adam
Jul 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
The absolute bible...a twisting labryinth that changes everytime you read it and slowly infects all you read.
Vishy
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was in a reading slump for a while. Then one day I watched a video by an American navy admiral, a commencement speech he was giving to new cadets. In that speech he said that we should focus on small tasks. Like when we get up in the morning, we should make our bed. That will lead to a sense of accomplishment and then we can go and work on the next small task. I found that speech very inspiring. I thought I will try to get out of my reading slump by focusing on a small thing. Like picking up a ...more
Sentimental Surrealist
One of those books that gets a five on principle. I don't feel that Borges' entire bibliography is worth five stars on a story-by-story or book-by-book basis, but that's got more to do with the fact that nobody's is (and the fact La memoria de Shakespeare that is mostly Borges retreading The Book of Sand-era Borges - "August 25, 1983" reminds me too much of "The Other," and "Blue Tigers" swipes its central concept from "The Book of Sand" - the title story is amazing, but the rest is worth skippi ...more
Matt
Jul 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is the complete fiction writings of Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. My initial disclaimer is that there is no way to do justice to a work of this magnitude in a single review, just as there is no way to do it justice after only a first reading.

Anyone who has read Borges will recognize common objects that show up continually in his writings such as labyrinths, gauchos, knife fights, war, jaguars, and books (some of which are fabricated).

For those with little knowlege of the history
...more
Felipe Salazar
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritos
Por fin lo terminé. Una compilación imperdible para todo el que disfrute de la lectura de calidad y que deja algo más allá de la simple distracción. En mi opinión, los mejores cuentos de Borges son esos que indagan en temas profundos como el tiempo, la realidad, los sueños, la memoria, o en asuntos filosóficos. Son relatos que sorprenden y que dejan preguntas abiertas; es literatura que deja huella en el intelecto, mucho más que en el alma. Otro tipo de relatos como los "costumbristas" de gaucho ...more
Ned
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This collection tests my rating system, since translation, time and my own ignorance limit a proper evaluation. But the enjoyment, inventiveness and pure craftsmanship demand at least 4 stars.

I took this in bite size pieces over a year and a half. It was good, often great, but dense like fudge and required careful reading when fresh (not the half awake bed-time reading that I like to do). This corpus spans a great writer’s life, and it taught me much about the settling of South America, in parti
...more
Caroline
Oct 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
I was hesitant to post anything about this book. Given the stature of Borges it would have been easier just to pretend that I'd never read it. Well, the truth is I hardly did read it. I found his style impenetrable. For me there was no way into these stories, I was just stuck on the outside, with a book full of words on my lap.
Bryn Hammond
Jan 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: imagined-fiction
Superlative.
I think of him as science fiction. Like... Yoon Ha Lee. Intellectual intrigue and the spirit of adventure. Few 20th century titans are as fun as this. A reader's writer (he wanders byways of everything ever written, everywhere); a writer's writer (just terrific craft and hauntingness). This translation often took me by the throat; I can't remember the last, I see there's controversy about translations.
Santiago Llach
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
El puto amo.
L1w0lf
Jun 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Borges is a name that's thrown about quite frequently in 'intellectual' circles. I heard his name from a friend who used to constantly claim that Borges was the greatest author never to win the Nobel Prize. I was intrigued and bought this particular book, an English translation from the original Spanish of this Argentinian writer.

First thing I realized was, that the guy who recommended Borges had never really read a word of Borges! Because he never told me what these stories were *really* about,
...more
kaelan
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
Wow.
J. Watson (aka umberto)
Oct 03, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
3.75 stars

Having read some unique stories in his “Ficciones” (Everyman’s Library, 1993) translated by Anthony Kerrigan et al., I thought Borges has amazingly written something mysterious, fantasy-oriented and sometime astonishing as his readers, especially newcomers, would see if they try browsing through some from 101 fictions in this book. Since it’s unthinkably impossible to summarize all of them; therefore, I would select only three outstanding ones that follow, briefly.

First, “The Uncivil
...more
Michael Adams
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A subtle blend of literary forms; some well-rendered scenarios, a few sketches, stories offering profound understanding of culture and human interaction, and the occasional speculative flourishes that bring magic into the entire affair. A scintillating collection of finely polished stories if ever there was one.
Doug
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a really interesting yet flawed collection of short stories.

I don't have much to say about this volume, as a matter of fact. The fact that there are dozens of short stories collected here makes it hard for me to review. I think that Borges is at his best when he is combining great prose with interesting ideas, but there are some times when the ideas are less than interesting and the prose is less than great. I'll add that he is not at all the sort of writer who makes an effort to get the
...more
Ericka Clouther
Borges writes philosophical fantasy and sometimes mystery stories.

1. Borges and Me/ Borges y Yo (4 stars)- I've read this one in both Spanish and English. I don't prefer a version. It's a simple short story about Borges's identity as a person versus as a writer that I enjoyed.

2. The Garden of Forking Paths (4 stars)- One of the things that is particularly interesting to me about this story is that its concept of time has been hypothesized by the multiverse theory of physics. The first person to
...more
Leonard
Aug 31, 2015 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
Mark
Dec 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
There are no two ways about it, in my mind Jorge Luis Borges is the greatest short story writer to ever live. I have never read any of his longer works, but I have also never read short stories written by anyone else that can hold a candle to Borges' obvious talent with the medium. He can weave the patterns for a momentous revelation in the mind of the reader without them even knowing what her is doing. After reading his better stories you an do nothing but sit and marvel at what has just happen ...more
Eric
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in a different perspective on Greek mythology
Shelves: short-stories
A recent conversation I read online regarding sympathetic narratives told from the point-of-view of the monster, e.g. Grendel, led me to read this brief short story.

It tells of the myth of the labyrinth, and the Minotaur within that Theseus slew, but Theseus is only mentioned in the last line -- (view spoiler) -- as the tale is told from the point of view of the Minotaur, Asterion.

The translatio
...more
Max
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latin-american
Twists, turns, tricks, intrigue, illusion, imagination, mystery, murder, mysticism, dreams, death, departure; duplicate lives, parallel lives, circular lives, forks in space, forks in time, forks in reality, fiction is truth, truth is fiction, all is one, one is all, everything is now – and it is all here in a hundred or so entertaining short stories and vignettes. Some are mind bending, some are unfathomable, some are sinister, some are comic, and some are mundane. Worth the effort even if by t ...more
vi macdonald
Borges is a magician.
Do yourself a favour and read this.
Not everything in this collection is perfect, but the best stuff here more than makes up for the lesser parts (and they are still great).
Morgan
One doesn't just read Borges, one experiences Borges.

The first book I read of his [The Book of Imaginary Beginnings] left me disappointed. I don't recommended reading that book first. I also thought he could of done a lot better with that book. With this book, I'm now a fan of Borges. I don't think he's the best short story writer I've come across (I'll get to that later), but I do think he knew what he is talking about and he can tell a story well.

Borges is kind of known as the master of metafi
...more
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A book about a virtual game 1 5 Nov 27, 2017 11:42PM  
Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges - eBook version? 1 3 Dec 23, 2016 08:29AM  
On Paths Unknown: The South - with spoilers 6 14 Oct 09, 2015 06:35AM  
On Paths Unknown: Emma Zunz - with spoilers 25 19 Sep 20, 2015 11:00AM  
Brain Pain: * Questions, Resources, & General Banter - Borges Stories 118 112 Apr 03, 2014 06:19PM  
Brain Pain: Discussion - Week Seventeen - Borges - The South 6 24 Nov 26, 2013 02:15AM  
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7,884 followers
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
“I have no way of knowing whether the events that I am about to narrate are effects or causes.” 109 likes
“To say good-bye is to deny separation; it is to say Today we play at going our own ways, but we'll see each other tomorrow. Men invented farewells because they somehow knew themselves to be immortal, even while seeing themselves as contingent and ephemeral.” 38 likes
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