Katie's Reviews > The Book of Imaginary Beings

The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Luis Borges
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's review
Nov 10, 2011

really liked it

This book has taken me months; in fact, I'm still not quite done with it. But that's how it's meant to be read, I think. A few pages at a time, and then weeks to dream of the beasts you've met. It's written like an encyclopedia for imaginary beings. Every entry is a new creature of fancy, beautiful or terrifying, religious or secular, philosophical of entirely whimsical. The book is written beautifully and simply, although "simple" here means not one word too many- the contents are certainly not simple. A brief sampling of the Table of Contents:
The Borametz
The Bird that Makes the Rain
Animals that Live in the Mirror
Haokah, God of Thunder
Haniel, Kafziel, Azriel, and Aniel
The Zaratan

And an excerpt, the entire entry for "Hochigan":
"Descartes tells us that monkeys could talk if they wanted to, but they have decided to keep silent so that humans will not force them to work. The Bushmen of South Africa believe that there was a time when all animals could talk. Hochigan hated animals; one day it disappeared, taking the gift of speech with it." (106)
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