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Fictions (1944)

by Jorge Luis Borges

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,096871,191 (4.39)222
The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the gargantuan powers of imagination, intelligence, and style of one of the greatest writers of this or any other century. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal's abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. More playful and approachable than the fictions themselves are Borges's Prologues, brief elucidations that offer the uninitiated a passageway into the whirlwind of Borges's genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything in between.… (more)
  1. 70
    Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges (Carnophile)
    Carnophile: While Ficciones is a subset of Collected Fictions, it is nice to have two translations of the same material. Each translator captures nuances the other misses.
  2. 70
    The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges (VanishedOne)
  3. 61
    Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (Carnophile)
    Carnophile: Both books are liesurely contemplations of fantastical situations, not plot- or character-driven, but conceptual.
  4. 20
    The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (lewbs)
    lewbs: Borges admired The Martian Chronicles. The two books have much in common.
  5. 10
    Tales of Hoffmann by E. T. A. Hoffmann (Cecrow)
  6. 10
    Primeval and Other Times by Olga Tokarczuk (Oct326)
    Oct326: Due esempi di narrazioni fantastiche di grande ricchezza e suggestione, più cristalline e sfaccettate quelle di Borges, più morbida e avvolgente quella di Tokarczuk.
  7. 00
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (fundevogel)
  8. 00
    The Periodic Table by Primo Levi (Eustrabirbeonne)
  9. 01
    Minor Angels by Antoine Volodine (Eustrabirbeonne)
1940s (9)
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» See also 222 mentions

English (66)  Spanish (9)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Portuguese (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (87)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
Conceptually I really only understood a bit of the first story, which was immensely creative, exploring a missing encyclopedia entry and an expansive imaginary world that was adopted into reality. Venturing further into the subsequent short stories, his archaic language lost me. I need more patience to keep up. Made it 1/3 of the way thru ( )
  bsmashers | Aug 1, 2020 |
I think Borges may be my new favorite author.... ( )
  ralphpalm | Nov 11, 2019 |
Maybe this was me starting to get used to his style, but I think this colleciton improved as it went through. It all feels a bit odd and contrived at times, the early stories particularly. Later they feel to have more flow. The later stories also have sly little connections, the author of the (fictional?) book that's the subject of one story is mentioned in a later story, the character of one appears as a reference in another. This helps tie it together as a colleciton. There's enough here to be interesting, but it's not exactly light bedtime reading, it needed some attention. ( )
  Helenliz | Sep 3, 2019 |
The most remarkable thing about Borges' esoteric contraptions is not their remarkableness, but the fact that they are accessible, like the start of a maze even if you get lost within. Dense and labyrinthine, Fictions nevertheless remains endlessly fascinating and the reader's goodwill is maintained throughout. Partly this is because Borges is an excellently lucid writer, even when discussing high concepts, and a storyteller (see 'The End' for some excellent storyteller's writing), and partly because he brings a natural playfulness to the prose. Borges doesn't make you feel stupid for not understanding him immediately, and whilst the short stories in Fictions require thought, they never feel like homework.

However, the main reason they stay fresh and fascinating is that there is nothing quite like them. They are intensely real and yet also mythic; resolutely human and yet, as Andrew Hurley remarks in his Afterword (which would have worked better as an introduction), seem to come from another planet (pg. 162). In terms of ideas, structure and originality, they stand apart, as though an alien polymath studied mankind for centuries and decided to write in High English. So much of Borges' quantum occultism has not yet resolved in my mind, but I am glad he has planted these stories there. ( )
  Mike_F | Jul 15, 2019 |
These stories are less like pearls, more like strange dense nuggets. I actually didn't like his fictions about fictions that much, but preferred the mystic stories of a man who made up a man, or even the story of the hive-like infinite library. I have the feeling you need an extraordinarily complete education to understand the stories very much at all, and I know I didn't always. (February 15, 2005) ( )
  cindywho | May 27, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (49 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jorge Luis Borgesprimary authorall editionscalculated
一士, 篠田Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blanchot, MauriceIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bonner, AnthonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Håkansson, GabriellaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hurley, AndrewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kerrigan, AnthonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lucentini, FrancoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reid, AlastairTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sturrock, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Temple, HelenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Todd, RuthvenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Esther Zemborain de Torres
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I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia. (Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius)
The work of Jorge Luis Borges is a species of international literary metaphor. (Introduction)
The eight pieces of this book do not require extraneous elucidation. (Prologue, Part One)
Though less torpidly executed, the pieces in this section are similar to those which form the first part of the book. (Prologue, Part Two)
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The seventeen pieces in Ficciones demonstrate the gargantuan powers of imagination, intelligence, and style of one of the greatest writers of this or any other century. Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre, and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal's abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books, and the iconography of eternal return. More playful and approachable than the fictions themselves are Borges's Prologues, brief elucidations that offer the uninitiated a passageway into the whirlwind of Borges's genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy. To enter the worlds in Ficciones is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell, and everything in between.

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Un falso paese scoperto "nelle pagine di un'enciclopedia plagiaria", Uqbar, e un pianeta immaginario, Tlön, "labirinto ordito dagli uomini" ma capace di cambiare la faccia del mondo; il "Don Chisciotte" di Menard, identico a quello di Cervantes eppure infinitamente più ricco; il mago che plasma un figlio nella materia dei sogni e scopre di essere a sua volta solo un sogno; l'infinita biblioteca di Babele, i cui scaffali "registrano tutte le possibili combinazioni dei venticinque simboli ortografici... cioè tutto ciò ch'è dato di esprimere, in tutte le lingue" e che sopravviverà all'estinzione della specie umana; il giardino dei sentieri che si biforcano; l'insonne Funes, che ha più ricordi di quanti ne avranno mai tutti gli uomini insieme.
(piopas)
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