By the time of his death in 1986, Borges had been granted old master status by almost everybody (except, alas, the gentlemen of the Swedish Academy). Yet his work remained dispersed among a half-dozen different collections, some of them increasingly hard to find. Andrew Hurley has done readers a great service, then, by collecting all the stories in a single, meticulously translated volume. It's a pleasure to be reminded that Borges's style--poetic, dreamlike, and compounded of innumerable small surprises--was already in place by 1935, when he published A Universal History of Iniquity: "The earth we inhabit is an error, an incompetent parody. Mirrors and paternity are abominable because they multiply and affirm it." (Incidentally, the thrifty author later recycled the second of these aphorisms in his classic bit of bookish metaphysics, "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Teris.") The glories of his middle period, of course, have hardly aged a day. "The Garden of the Forking Paths" remains the best deconstruction of the detective story ever written, even in the post-Auster era, and "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" puts the so-called death of the author in pointed, hilarious perspective.
But Hurley's omnibus also brings home exactly how consistent Borges remained in his concerns. As late as 1975, in "Avelino Arredondo," he was still asking (and occasionally even answering) the same riddles about time and its human repository, memory: "For the man in prison, or the blind man, time flows downstream as though down a slight decline. As he reached the midpoint of his reclusion, Arredondo more than once achieved that virtually timeless time. In the first patio there was a wellhead, and at the bottom, a cistern where a toad lived; it never occurred to Arredondo that it was the toad's time, bordering on eternity, that he sought." Throughout, Hurley's translation is crisp and assured (although this reader will always have a soft spot for "Funes, the Memorious" rather than "Funes, His Memory.") And thanks to his efforts, Borgesians will find no better--and no more pleasurable--rebuttal of the author's description of himself as "a shy sort of man who could not bring himself to write short stories." --James Marcus --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Trying to full describe the writings of Jorge Luis Borges is like trying to explain exactly why Leonardo da Vinci's art still captivates. The man wrote works of art. Read morePublished on June 26 2008 by E. A Solinas
I was recommended Borges' works by one of his innumerable over-educated sycophants and I will never forget the tremendous time I wasted attempting to grasp the supposed value of... Read morePublished on July 9 2004 by Songbird
Thank God! I was beginning to think I had gone mad. Someone else had the courage and the lucidity to point out that this is a terrible translation of Borges. Read morePublished on March 27 2004
What a tragedy! Who could have possibly authorized this grievous translation? It is crucial for all readers to know that the very important works of Jorge Luis Borges are not in... Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2004
finally, a good - dare I say great? - translation of Borges into English... previous editions may seem to have stood the test of time, but Andrew Hurley has done a magnificent job... Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2004 by monica chavez
My introduction to Borges came last year in a Intermediate College Writing course. My instructor used "Monk Eastman- Bringer of Iniquities" to demonstrate how elements... Read morePublished on Aug. 30 2003 by Andrew
Jorges Luis Borges is undoubtedly one of the most inventive and important, if not necessarily influential, writers of the 20th century. Read morePublished on Aug. 14 2003 by Andrea H.
When I read 100 years of solitude - how was I to know that Marquez had a master as well. On reading Borges, I often cursed my ignorance and more often loved the brilliance of the... Read morePublished on July 18 2003 by Sandeep Parekh