July 29, 2013
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges (Review)
Author: Jorge Luis Borges
First published: 1944
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I wasn't expecting to like this book, because I was aware that it is metaphysical and surreal, and I'm not a big fan of stuff that needs a lot of interpretation to start making sense. However, it ended up being one of my favourite books in The Fiction of Relationship course.
It is very difficult to describe what Ficciones is about, but I'll try. The book is a collection of short stories and is divided into two parts: The Garden of Forking Paths and Artifices, which were once separate collections. The themes vary from literary analysis of the works that never existed, to memory phenomena, to Bible interpretation, to the origins of chance in our fortunes. Borges is a great admirer of books and labyrinths, and nearly in all of the stories one or both of these play the key role, be it an endless library which is a labyrinth, or a labyrinth which is a book. The stories are very bizarre, and sometimes it's hard to make sense of them, but re-reading them or looking at them in the light of other stories usually helps. It's for those who enjoy riddles.
The whole collection have an indescribable collective effect on the reader's consciousness: it's as if Borges opens your cranium, takes your brain out, mixes it thoroughly, paints it with some markers and returns it back to front to its place. After most of the stories I found myself staring at the ceiling for some time completely bewildered while trying to digest what I have just read. An unforgettable experience!
In my book:
Ficciones is a must-read for everyone who enjoys mind games and surrealistic writings. This short story collection was the brightest reading experience of this summer, as well as one of the most dynamic ones. It is one of the few books I intend to re-read, and I'm certainly picking up more of Borges!
Oh my God, look at this edition! $1,985 only ;)