Jared Millet's Reviews > Ficciones

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
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Reading Around South America:

For my time in Argentina, I cheated a little and didn’t pick a book about Argentina per se. Instead I went with this collection of short fiction by the famous writer and essayist Jorge Luis Borges. I was introduced to Borges in The Big Book of Science Fiction, but I wouldn’t characterize Borges as a science fiction or fantasy writer. Rather, he wrote from a literary tradition in which it was perfectly acceptable for the fantastic or the mystical to share space on the page with the mundane and realistic without being ghettoized as “genre.”

I also have to say that Borges isn’t an author I can recommend. A handful of his stories here are enjoyable, but others are overly philosophical and/or didactic (a problem I noticed with all of the Argentinian writers in the Big Book of SF) and some seem to be literary mind games of a type that I simply don’t get. A favorite trick of Borges is to write essays of literary criticism on authors who never existed. In some cases it can be interesting (“Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote”) but at other times pointless (“The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim”).

Borges repeats himself a lot too, but repetition and recursion – as well as the encroachment of the fictional into the real – are common themes in his work. Personal favorites in this collection are “The Library of Babel,” “The Secret Miracle,” and “Three Versions of Judas.”

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Reading Progress

June 13, 2018 – Shelved
June 13, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 8, 2019 – Started Reading
January 21, 2019 – Finished Reading
January 28, 2019 – Shelved as: classics
January 28, 2019 – Shelved as: fantasy
January 28, 2019 – Shelved as: literary-fiction
January 28, 2019 – Shelved as: out-of-my-comfort-zone
January 28, 2019 – Shelved as: short-stories
January 28, 2019 – Shelved as: south-america

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