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Finzioni by Jorge L. Borges
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Finzioni (original 1944; edition 2004)

by Jorge L. Borges

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,229601,176 (4.39)148
Member:Giangi
Title:Finzioni
Authors:Jorge L. Borges
Info:
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Narrativa argentina

Work details

Ficciones 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. 50
    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. 00
    The Periodic Table by Primo Levi (Eustrabirbeonne)
  5. 00
    House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski (fundevogel)
  6. 01
    Des Anges Mineurs by Antoine Volodine (Eustrabirbeonne)
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» See also 148 mentions

English (48)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (60)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Pocas veces me ha costado tanto terminar un libro. Ficciones es una de esas obras. Me obligué a leerlo de todos modos, esperando encontrar en algún lado la magia, eso que lo hizo tan famoso, y que tanta gente elogia y admira.

No lo encontré. Al menos no en Ficciones. La mitad de los cuentos siento que no los entendí. Y eso que soy una persona que lee mucho... pero que se yo, a lo mejor no estoy a la altura de Borges, vaya uno a saber. Y los cuentos que sí entendí, sinceramente no me gustaron.

Leer este libro fue, desde más o menos la tercer o cuarta página, un continuo "uffff... ¿cuánto me falta para temrinar este bodrio?". Supongo que ese estado mental no ayuda.

Algunos de los cuentos que no me disgustaron del todo, o que me produjeron alguna reacción positiva, o me parecieron interesantes desde algún punto de vista: "La biblioteca de Babel", "Las ruinas circulares", "Tema del traidor y del héroe", "Funes el memorioso", "El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan".

Artificios, la segunda parte, me resultó un poco más llevadera/entretenida que la primera.

"Ficciones" está considerada como una muy buena introducción a la obra de Borges... evidentemente, BOrges entonces no es para mi. ( )
  chaghi | Jun 1, 2014 |
Ficciones is comprised of two anthologies, the Garden of Forking Paths and Artifices. The first is absolutely brilliant, the second more conventional but still good. Borges had a talent for transforming reality within the context of his stories, then exploring its boundaries and horizons. Every story is the pursuit of an idea, the characters and plot - when there is a plot - merely tools to do so. Some stories appear more straightforward but feature some detail, a trick ending or final sentence that changes how the rest is viewed. Borges' style is largely telling rather than showing, but it is such very good telling that it works without a hitch.

Here are the stories in this volume. The attached ratings are purely a reflection of my subjective enjoyment. My rating system is even more questionable when considering that at least some of the stories inform one another and often explore different facets of similar ideas (e.g. shared identities, labyrinths, etc.) The introduction to my 1993 Everyman's Library edition (by John Sturrock) is brilliant, shedding light on the author and providing insight into nearly every piece. It's well worth reading in advance of jumping in. I also recommend the Wikipedia entries.

* Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius - rare books are discovered which prove to have a very unusual relationship, and foreshadow the world's future. Love how mysteries unfold in this one, it's a great introduction to this master stylist. Note, 1947 was a future setting at the time of this story's writing. (5/5)

* The Approach to Al-Mu'tasim - Borges never wrote a novel ("laborious and impoverishing extravagance", he called them) and he gets around it here in a short story disguised as the review of a (fictional) novel. (4/5)

* Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote - literature is interpreted according to the time, place and by whom it was written. So much for objectivity. (4/5)

* The Circular Ruins - a man dreams another into existence. Later stories will have you circling back. (4/5)

* The Babylon Lottery - a story about A, where I thought he should have taken it to B. Turns out he'd thought of B, and this was actually about C. Got me there. (5/5)

* An Examination of the Works of Herbert Quain - interesting look at unusual story structures for novels, the flaws and pluses. The ending reveals its relevance. (3/5)

* The Library of Babel - this is all about the concept; an infinite (maybe) library with volumes containing every permutation of the alphabet. Incidentally there are experimental (fan?) web sites that simulate samples of this library's contents. (4/5)

* The Garden of Forking Paths - a German spy must somehow get a message to his superiors, with an agent close on his tail. (5/5)

I found the second portion "Artifices" to be not as strong. The stories in this half largely steer away from the thought experiments pattern:

* Funes, the Memorious - a man suffers from remembering every detail of his life. (4/5)

* The Form of the Sword - a Uruguayan immigrant explains the enormous scar on his face. (4/5)

* Theme of the Traitor and Hero - the details of a man's death find mysterious echoes in history and literature. (4/5)

* Death and the Compass - a Poirot-like sleuth follows the clues from three murders to anticipate a fourth. (5/5)

* The Secret Miracle - a man facing a firing squad makes one final request of God. (4/5)

* Three Versions of Judas - explores a theological idea involving Judas Iscariot of the Bible, and the fate of that idea's perpetrator. (3/5)

* The End - this was not a story I can fully appreciate, not having read the poem "Martin Fierro" that it is based upon and offers insight into. (3/5)

* The Sect of the Phoenix - an exercise demonstrating that virtually anything can be made mysterious if presented so. We see this all the time today on the Internet. (4/5)

* The South - as the author notes in his preface, this can be read as a straightforward story or in another way. You know if Borges puts a character in a sanatorium, things are going to get interesting. (4/5)

With few exceptions, these stories have made a lasting impression and their imagery will stick with me for a long time to come. That's not something I say after every short story collection I read. Read him for his influence on other artists, which has been far-reaching and pervasive. ( )
  Cecrow | Mar 17, 2014 |
I'm pretty sure I'm too dumb to understand everything, but the parts I do get are amazing! ( )
  aviechu | Mar 14, 2014 |
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
Published 1944
3 stars

Ficciones by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges is really a work of a master. The work is a series of short stories by this incredibly intelligent author. These short stories have some common themes including libraries, books, philosophy, God reality and unreality. Borges was gradually growing blind and he also served as a librarian. The author was educated in Europe and while he is Argentinian his stories have various settings and various nationalities. He is truly a international author. The various stories that comprise Ficciones sometimes read as essays, are mixed with many non fictional characters and elements and require careful, slow reading and probably should be read many times to really appreciate the authors genius. I enjoyed some of these stories, some were difficult to read. I gave it 3 stars because I do think the author is great and that these stories represent a mastery and a forerunner of magical realism but it was also hard to read. I especially enjoyed Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius though it was struggle to read. I also enjoyed Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote, The Circular Ruins, The Babylon Lottery, Funes, the Memorious, Death and the Compass and Three Versions of Judas. Wikipedia provides a synopsis of each story and I found this very helpful. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
I adore Gene Wolfe, and one of his largest influences is the Argentinian author Borges. Allusions to Borges’ work abound in Wolfe’s, and I had recently read The Shadow of the Wind which had its own share of Borgesian elements, so I knew I had to eventually get around to reading the original. Holy wow. It’s easy to see the parallels between Wolfe and Borges; Borges is what you might get if you took Wolfe and removed all the sci-fi and fantastical elements, stripped it down to the raw, crystallized ideas. And concentrated it. Mind-blowing stuff, is what it is. “The Garden of Forking Paths” is one of my favorite stories ever. ( )
  saltmanz | Oct 21, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:54 -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)

» see all 4 descriptions

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