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Finzioni by Jorge L. Borges

Finzioni (original 1944; edition 2004)

by Jorge L. Borges

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4,587691,047 (4.4)174
Authors:Jorge L. Borges
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Narrativa argentina

Work details

Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges (1944)

  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. 60
    The Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis Borges (VanishedOne)
  3. 51
    Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (Carnophile)
    Carnophile: Both books are liesurely contemplations of fantastical situations, not plot- or character-driven, but conceptual.
  4. 10
    The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (lewbs)
    lewbs: Borges admired The Martian Chronicles. The two books have much in common.
  5. 00
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (fundevogel)
  6. 00
    The Periodic Table by Primo Levi (Eustrabirbeonne)
  7. 01
    Minor Angels by Antoine Volodine (Eustrabirbeonne)

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» See also 174 mentions

English (52)  Spanish (6)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (68)
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
There is something about South American writing I just don't seem to get. I found these stories strange & while not disagreeable, I couldn't really understand the purpose of many of them. Borges often uses the device of a labyrinth or maze & many of the stories revolve around a discussion of another (imaginary) book, which also struck me as a kind of maze (a story in a story in a story). Are these layers representing personality or reality or religion or something like that? I suppose so... I will have to think it over some more. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jan 15, 2016 |
Really struggled with this. I liked some of the stories but some of them read like a bibliography to research which I wasn't too keen on. ( )
  sashinka | Jan 14, 2016 |
Carefully crafted, this series of short stories demands a readers attention. Borges is clearly a genius, and his wide-ranging mind is difficult for even the most well-read reader to follow. This is a book that I read over a decade ago in a university course on Latin American literature, and have now reread, hoping to further decipher what it is all about. There is a lot here, from magical realism to occultism, and making sense of it all is hard work. Of the stories here, my favourites are "The Library of Babel", "Funes, the Memorious", and "The South". All that said however, this is a book that I respect for its craftsmanship more than for how much I enjoyed it. Often it provoked a reaction akin to "huh, that's interesting", but never did it tingle my senses or stir my soul. Perhaps I'll try it again in another decade, and see if the added life experience makes a difference in my impression. ( )
1 vote mmcdwl | Oct 11, 2015 |

As I was reading these stories, these ficciones, I was wondering where I might have heard this Borges voice before. And as I read it seemed to me that each story was important in its own rank as if derived from a serious study of an ancient text or the pouring over of history books detailing in no small measure the accounts that made up the results of whatever was being set forth. Of course, because the original Ficciones were written in Spanish and then translated to English, the stories additionally allowed me to consider that some of the numerous facts and details presented were possibly “made-up” and mingled together with others which obviously were not. The entire practice of a Borges composition was basically lost to a reader like me who is not “up” on his ancient history and could no more in these given instances discern a truth from a bald-faced lie. Nonetheless, the stories were written and translated with such abundant grace and were so well-crafted their meaning mattered little to me as I was obviously in the presence of genius, which is such a joy to behold when it actually occurs to me. Still, it bothered me incessantly as each story ended with the same result of my not understanding what I had just read but enjoying it nonetheless. I am apt to want to quit on something I do not understand, but the words were too powerful and crafted for me to end our affair.

Throughout my reading there wasn’t one story that made more of an impact on me than another, but taken as whole it reminded me by the end that another writer, a contemporary, whose voice I realized sounds just like Borges, or at least sounds like the translation of Ficciones that I am reviewing here. It felt a bit uncanny for me to think of my writer-friend Jason in light of reading a book written so long ago. I know Borges died blind in 1986 and was born in 1899. I know he originally published the first edition of this book in 1944 or thereabouts. Besides this unique voice I heard on every page, what made me think of my contemporary as I read Borges was that confident, loving tone of a very good teacher, a scholar relating something he found so interesting that he wants to excite us with his discovery too. The tone comes from a very nice man, a gentle soul who is humble and totally unpretentious even though his gifted presentation flies way over my head and is so far out of my league of understanding. Perhaps, for some readers of this text, understanding is not so hard to come by. But for me it was nearly impossible. In order to not frustrate myself I began to read these stories much as I read [a:Gilles Deleuze|13009|Gilles Deleuze|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1377593399p2/13009.jpg] say, and of course [a:Jason Schwartz|653615|Jason Schwartz|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1370111512p2/653615.jpg], and attempt to glean what I might from their words and simply enjoy the rest. I doubt there will ever come a time when I know enough history to connect more to these short stories, but I do know I expect I will not derive more pleasure in my newfound understanding than was my first exposure and initiation into this world.

But lo and behold miracles do occur and the last story filled my void. The understanding that had been missing over the last days spent with all these Borges pages came headlong to me, and not delivered as I was present in my trance as I had been in while reading the stories prior to this last one titled The South. No, for this one, the last one, I was fully alive and awake for his scrumptious ending of the way life goes sometimes. But instead of topping my already generous day I was directed by a Borges order to press on, that silly, my time had not come, as neither the hero’s had nor his aggressor’s, and that a knife fight must and will ensue, and the results are not a given though perhaps it could be perceived as somewhat predictable. ( )
1 vote MSarki | Jan 24, 2015 |
I got along with Fictions a lot better than with The Book of Imaginary Beings; while it's still composed of various short pieces, each one has a plot and a purpose. The writing is beautiful; if the translation does any justice to the original, it must be gorgeous in its simplicity, while describing plots and settings that are anything but simple. I could almost go learn Spanish just to read Borges' own words -- though this Penguin translation by Andrew Hurley is a good one, and makes the stories accessible and clear.

Can you even pick a favourite from this volume? I suppose maybe I can -- 'The Library of Babel', maybe, or 'The Lottery in Babylon'. I'm going to keep this book around and reread it sometime, slower, in a different order, whatever. Just dip in and out see what else I find in these stories that I didn't see this time. And it's high praise for me to say that I am sure there's a lot I didn't see. ( )
  shanaqui | Nov 23, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (61 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jorge Luis Borgesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bonner, AnthonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Håkansson, GabriellaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kerrigan, AnthonyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lucentini, F.Translatorsecondary 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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802130305, Paperback)

Reading Jorge Luis Borges is an experience akin to having the top of one's head removed for repairs. First comes the unfamiliar breeze tickling your cerebral cortex; then disorientation, even mild discomfort; and finally, the sense that the world has been irrevocably altered--and in this case, rendered infinitely more complex. First published in 1945, his Ficciones compressed several centuries' worth of philosophy and poetry into 17 tiny, unclassifiable pieces of prose. He offered up diabolical tigers, imaginary encyclopedias, ontological detective stories, and scholarly commentaries on nonexistent books, and in the process exploded all previous notions of genre. Would any of David Foster Wallace's famous footnotes be possible without Borges? Or, for that matter, the syntactical games of Perec, the metafictional pastiche of Calvino? For good or for ill, the blind Argentinian paved the way for a generation's worth of postmodern monkey business--and fiction will never be simply "fiction" again.

Its enormous influence on writers aside, Ficciones has also--perhaps more importantly--changed the way that we read. Borges's Pierre Menard, for instance, undertakes the most audacious project imaginable: to create not a contemporary version of Cervantes's most famous work but the Quixote itself, word for word. This second text is "verbally identical" to the original, yet, because of its new associations, "infinitely richer"; every time we read, he suggests, we are in effect creating an entirely new text, simply by viewing it through the distorting lens of history. "A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships," Borges once wrote in an essay about George Bernard Shaw. "All men who repeat one line of Shakespeare are William Shakespeare," he tells us in "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius." In this spirit, Borges is not above impersonating, even quoting, himself.

It is hard, exactly, to say what all of this means, at least in any of the usual ways. Borges wrote not with an ideological agenda, but with a kind of radical philosophical playfulness. Labyrinths, libraries, lotteries, doubles, dreams, mirrors, heresiarchs: these are the tokens with which he plays his ontological games. In the end, ideas themselves are less important to him than their aesthetic and imaginative possibilities. Like the idealist philosophers of Tlön, Borges does not "seek for the truth or even for verisimilitude, but rather for the astounding"; for him as for them, "metaphysics is a branch of fantastic literature." --Mary Park

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:01 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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)

(summary from another edition)

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