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Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings (Twentieth Century Classics) Paperback

4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014018029X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140180299
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,778,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
I had the pleasure to read borges in his native languaje (Spanish). I even have the honor to consider him one of my own, since im from Argentina. Sometimes I regret that Maradona is a better example of an Argentinian than Borges, and better known worldwide.
I first red Borges when i was 15 (im 17 now), i started with "The Aleph", and i just didnt have the intelectaul requirements to understand it. Buy right now im reading "Personal Anthology", and i find it simply wonderfull.
His obsession with Mirrors, Cats and Labyrinths its very intresting. His conception of the world is strange and difficult to describe, and his love for knowledge and languajes is outstanding.
Borges gave his life to literature, and he died saying "I wasnt happy... books took my life". He took a sacrifice to teach others. He gave his whole life to his readers, and i, as a reader, am very very greatfull. Literature would have a huge hole without this genious of literature.
I apologize for any grammar mistakes... this is not my native languaje, but i thought an Argentine perpective of Borges was, at least usefull, if not necessary.
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Format: Paperback
I am embarrassed to admit that this was my first proper exposure to Borges - though I had seen, and was intrigued by, many fragments of his works quoted by other authors, which is what eventually prompted me to pick up this book. The experience has turned out to be a mixture of joy and disappointment.

Allowance has to be made for the fact that the English translations in this collection are not those revised and approved by Borges. The sparks of stylistic brilliance occurring every now and again in this book made me wonder how different an impression I would get from the authorised translations (which, sadly, cannot be published any longer).

The majority of the stories introduce metaphysical ideas dressed as fiction, which is something that I do not care for - though this, of course, is a matter of personal preference. Some stories appear to be merely jokes of philosophic or literary nature while some closely (perhaps too closely) remind the style of Poe or Bierce. This quality may or may not be an artefact of translation; however, I certainly feel that the central premise of 'The Secret Miracle' is essentially the same as that of 'An Occurrence on Owl Creek Bridge' by Bierce. I recognised this even though I only ever read the latter story some 40 years ago, in a Russian translation - so the similarity must be real.

On the other hand, there are some true gems in this book - for example, 'Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius', whose intense poetic beauty transcends the metaphysical content, or 'Averroes's Search', which I find quite disturbing.
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Format: Paperback
Borges is not quite like any other author I've ever read. Some of his influences appear to have been Swift (in his brilliant, mock high-serious parodies of scholarly writings) and E.T.A. Hoffman (in the often arcane subject matter of his stories, and in their sheer weirdness). He shares with his contemporary, Nabokov, great stylistic elegance and a love of intellectual puzzles.
And he's clearly influenced the work of a host of artists, writers, and thinkers: the Foucault of "What Is An Author?," Stanley Fish's reader response theories, the paintings of Remedios Varo, the novels of Auster and Pynchon, even the recent film "Memento," all bear unmistakable traces of his influence. Perhaps the writer Borges most resembles is Kafka - he and Kafka were masters of the short story, managing in a few taut pages to pack a dazzling breadth and depth of ideas, effects, and implications. Most significantly of all, both Borges and Kafka are in many ways sui generis.
So you really must READ Borges (who, shockingly, never won the Nobel Prize) to get a full measure of his originality. His stories are mysterious, elliptical, hauntingly beautiful. The best of them are capable of expanding the boundaries of consciousness by forcing the reader to question the nature of knowledge, of time, of identity, of reality itself. In short, the effect is, as I believe they called it way back in the 60s, a mindf***.
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 1 2011
Format: Paperback
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.

And this classic writer's brilliant, surreally exquisite works are on best display in "Labyrinths," whose plain name belies the subtle power and exquisite beauty of Jorges' short stories and vibrant essays. His intricate and atmospheric narratives are magical, rich in language, and lets us glimpse the minds of anything and anyone he can conjure up.

First there is a collection of his short stories, mostly from the book "Ficciones". He dreams up the long-lost heretical histories of a fictional world known as Tlon, and its beliefs, language and culture; he dreams up labyrinthine spy stories, a lottery that determines the way the people of Babylon are to live, a man who attempts to LIVE as Don Quixote, a man who tries to dream a new being into existence, an exploration of the eternal Library of the universe, and the mysterious Zahir.

The second round of short stories is a bit less enthralling, merely because it focuses more on "typical" stuff. But they are still pretty enthralling pieces of work -- the remembrance of the brilliantly eccentric Ireneo Funes, the story of a scar, a series of murders linked to "the secret Name," a condemned man's begs God for a year to perfect his art, a forgotten heretic, a conversation leading to revenge, the Cult of the Phoenix.

And then he produces a bunch of lesser-known works -- there are essays on Argentinian writing (or "gauchesque"), weird "refutation of time," his thoughts on literature and George Bernard Shaw, a "magic design," Zeno's paradoxes, Kafka, and other mind-bending, thought provoking topics.
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