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The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges
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it was amazing

What is there to say about Jorge Luis Borges that hasn't been said before?

Not much. Borges is a wonderful story-teller. His world is one of mysticism and magic, and paradoxically, of raw realism. It's a world of serious philosophical thoughts and of detective plots. The Aleph is a window for everything that the world contains; perhaps that is the perfect description of Borges's stories.

I must admit, however, that some of the stories didn't awe me that much. I infinitely prefer when Borges writes about Arabs within the atmosphere of One Thousand Nights or about Jews and the Kabbalah. I prefer the stories that have a supernatural element, or that suffered the clear influence of Conan Doyle. The stories about gauchos and Argentine folk if we can call it that, leave me strangely unimpressed. Perhaps because I cannot connect to that world as I connect to others. I must mention the exception: the story about the death of Pedro Damián which I thought was truly extraordinary. As Borges says in his commentaries at the end of the book, "all theologians have denied God one miracle - that of undoing the past". (One can argue that this story fits more the "supernatural" category than the Argentine gaucho category but no matter).

The stories where Borges dissociates from himself and sees himself through a mirror are some of my favourite as well. The blind Homer which isn't Homer at all but Borges, was unexpectedly moving, as though Borges was revealing one of his inner secrets.

Still, apart from the Aleph and another couple of stories, I found that the most interesting writing of this volume is Borges's autobiography. It is always refreshing and comforting to read the thoughts of a man who has learned much about life and is willing to share that knowledge. Despite being 71, he wrote of his future plans with the enthusiasm of youth. And he was right: he went on to live more 15 years.

I finish this review with the final lines of his autobiography:

"In a way, youthfulness seems closer to me today than when I was a young man. I no longer regard happiness as unattainable; once, long ago, I did. Now I know that it may occur at any moment but that it should never be sought after. As to failure or fame, they are quite irrelevant and I never bother about them. What I'm out for now is peace, the enjoyment of thinking and of friendship, and, though it may be too ambitious, a sense of loving and of being loved."
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Reading Progress

December 3, 2016 – Shelved
December 3, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 3, 2017 – Started Reading
January 9, 2017 –
page 98
46.67% ""It's to the other man, to Borges, that things happen. I walk along the streets of Buenos Aires, stopping now and then - perhaps out of habit - to look at the arch of an old entrance-way or a grillwork gate; of Borges I get news through the mail and glimpse his name among a committee of professors or in a dictionary of biography""
January 12, 2017 –
page 141
67.14% ""My father was very intelligent and, like all intelligent men, very kind""
January 14, 2017 – Finished Reading

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