HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

A invenção de Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares
Loading...

A invenção de Morel (original 1940; edition 2006)

by Adolfo Bioy Casares, Jorge Luis Borges (Foreword), Otto Maria Carpeaux (Afterword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,708446,452 (3.92)102
Member:guilherme
Title:A invenção de Morel
Authors:Adolfo Bioy Casares
Other authors:Jorge Luis Borges (Foreword), Otto Maria Carpeaux (Afterword)
Info:Cosac Naify
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:novel

Work details

The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares (1940)

  1. 40
    The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells (chrisharpe)
    chrisharpe: Bioy Casares uses H G Wells' "The Island of Doctor Moreau" as a model for "The Invention of Morel". After Morel, the Wells tale is rather pedestrian, but still worth reading.
  2. 10
    The Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe (chrisharpe)
  3. 10
    The Lost Steps by Alejo Carpentier (chrisharpe)
  4. 10
    Aura by Carlos Fuentes (chrisharpe)
  5. 02
    The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: An island with mysterious properties.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 102 mentions

English (39)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
I got this book as a "blind date with a classic" and I was disappointed when I opened the wrapping, because I read "Dormir al sol" and really didn't enjoy it, and also because I prefer to read in the original language if I can. There are many interesting books or there that I was quite happy not to bother with anything else written by Bioy Casares.

Therefore, I read this really quickly so that I could return it to the bookshop and swap out for something else. However, I quite enjoyed it. I think Bioy Casares has some interesting ideas even if I don't really like his style. Reading this in English probably helped as it made it easier for me to understand and therefore quicker.

I groaned about the main character's attitude to women, but I can sort of overlook it due to the age of the book.

Anyway, it's a short read with an interesting idea. Could be good for a book group. I think it's best to read without knowing anything about it.

The blind date blurb said "I fit neatly together like a dreamy and beautiful jigsaw puzzle" and I got it from Mary Martin bookshop in Melbourne, Australia. ( )
  KWharton | Sep 2, 2019 |
A totally magical book. Very short, but with absolutely nothing missing. The sense of the surreal is so strong in this novel. It nails magical realism better than most books I've read. The narrator's journey is fascinating and sad. Borges was correct to compare this to a mystery and the russian psychological novel: it is definitely both. In addition, this book does sci-fi better than sci-fi does. That's all i have to say. Read this book. ( )
  jakebornheimer | Mar 27, 2019 |


The Invention of Morel was adjudged a perfect work by Jorge Luis Borges, the author’s mentor/friend/frequent collaborator. Anybody familiar with the essays and short fiction of Borges can appreciate what it means for one of the great masters of world literature to make such a pronouncement. Perhaps Borges’ appraisal reflects, in part, how Adolfo Bioy Casares shares much of his own aesthetic and literary sensibilities since, after all, they collaborated on twelve books.

More specifically, here are some obvious similarities between the writing of the two authors:
The Invention of Morel is only one hundred pages, not too much longer than a number of Borges’s longer tales.
• Similar to stories like The Circular Ruin, The Aleph and many other Borges tales, The Invention of Morel deals with multiple levels of so called reality.
• The language and writing is elegant. Bloy Casares' short novel is akin to Borges' writing in Doctor Brodie’s Report and The Book of Sand, where Borges let go of his more ornate, baroque style.

For the purpose of this review, I will take a specific focus: the relationship between the novel and the author’s and our own experience of film and television.

The 1920s were the heyday of silent films. The first commercially successful sound film, The Jazz Singer, was released in 1929. Black and White 1940s TV was as raw as raw can be – just look at those 1949 TV shows on You Tube. In 1940, the year of publication for The Invention of Morel, ideas about what would become TV where "in the air"; what really had a grip on people’s imagination in the 1920s and 1930s was film, first silent film then film with sound.

So, one can imagine a sensitive, imaginative literary artist like Adolfo Bioy Casares (born 1914) experiencing silent film in the 1920s as a boy and then sound films as a teenager and young man. One thing that makes The Invention of Morel so compelling is just how much of what the narrator and others in the novel experience is parallel to a world saturated with films and TV.

Below are a number of quotes from the novel coupled with my reflections:

“They are at the top of the hill, while I am far below. From here they look like a race of giants .” (page 12) ---------- Darn, if this wasn’t my exact experience when I went to my first movie. I was so overwhelmed by the race of giants ‘up there’ on the screen, I fled from the theater minutes after the movie started.

“I saw the same room duplicated eight times in eight directions as if it were reflected in mirror.” (page 18) ---------- Again, darn. I recall my almost disbelief when, as a kid, I saw the same image repeated a dozen times when I first saw all those TVs turned to the same station in a department store. There was something freaky about the exact movement and image repeated on all those sets.

“I went back to see her the next afternoon, and the next. She was there, and her presence began to take on the quality of a miracle.” (page 25) ---------- How many teenagers, young men and women and even older adults have fallen in love with a movie star and go back to the movies to see their loved one the next night and the next?

“Words and movements of Faustine and the bearded man coincided with those of a week ago. The atrocious eternal return.” (page 41) ---------- In a way, isn’t that the world of movies – the same exact people doing exactly the same thing night after night up there on the screen. Live performances and live theater doesn't even come close to the movie’s eternal return.

“Horrified by Faustine, who was so close to me, actually might be on another planet.” (page 53) ---------- How many men and women who have fallen in love with a star in a film or a TV show where they are so close they can press their hands against the star’s face (the TV screen) come to realize their emotions and feelings are for a being a universe away, far beyond their actual touch?

““Tea for Two” and “Valencia” persisted until after dawn.” (page 62) ---------- Most appropriate! Films and TV thrive on easy-to-remember songs and jingles.

“I began to search for waves and vibrations that had previously been unattainable, to devise instruments to receive and transmit them.” (page 69). ---------- It's as if the author tuned into the collective unconscious desire in 1940 to expand film in different ways, one way being what would become TV.

“ I was certain that my images of persons would lack consciousness of themselves (like the characters in a motion picture).” (page 70) ---------- This is part of a nearly four pages of Morel's internal dialogue. There is a lot here. One reflection: how many people have sacrificed their flesh-and-blood existential reality to make it as a star up there on the silver screen? What happens to the soul of the people in a city like Los Angeles, for example, when the city is taken over by an entire industry dedicated to producing films and shows populated by stars?

I recall a quote from the main character in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when he goes into a roadside diner and can’t get the waitress’s attention because she is watching TV. He says, “I don’t exist since I’m not on TV.”


Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914-1999) ( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
Adolfo Bioy Casares and his wife, the writer and artist Silvina Ocampo, were both close to Jorge Luis Borges and often collaborated with him on literary projects. Borges wrote the preface for this, Bioy's first stand-alone novella. He and Octavio Paz both famously categorised it as "an almost perfect novel" - so obviously it's more or less compulsory to read it if you want to say you know something about South American literature...

The narrator is a fugitive from Venezuela (we aren't told why he is on the run from the law, but there are hints that he's the victim of some sort of political persecution) who has taken refuge on what is meant to be an uninhabited island. Naturally, he's a bit miffed when a bunch of tourists suddenly appear and start playing the gramophone a week or two after he first arrives. At first, he keeps a low profile, thinking that this might be a plot by the police to flush him out of hiding, but then he gradually becomes fascinated with one of the tourists, a woman called Faustine, and discovers that something seems to have gone seriously wrong with either the way he perceives the world, or the way in which everyone else does.

There turns out to be a very ingenious solution to the mystery, and we are bombarded with references to H.G. Wells, Faust, Robinson Crusoe, and much profound speculation about the relationship between human individuality, memory, and perception, but none of it ever really grabbed me very profoundly - it's all just clever philosophical juggling, really, and it seems to take itself far too seriously. As one of the other LT reviewers says, it might have been much more interesting if it had been a five-page story by Borges rather than a 90-page novella in which we have time to become irritated with the lack of any real interaction between characters. ( )
1 vote thorold | Mar 3, 2018 |


The Invention of Morel was adjudged a perfect work by Jorge Luis Borges, the author’s mentor/friend/frequent collaborator. Anybody familiar with the essays and short fiction of Borges can appreciate what it means for one of the great masters of world literature to make such a pronouncement. Perhaps Borges’ appraisal reflects, in part, how Adolfo Bioy Casares shares much of his own aesthetic and literary sensibilities since, after all, they collaborated on twelve books.

More specifically, here are some obvious similarities between the writing of the two authors:
The Invention of Morel is only one hundred pages, not too much longer than a number of Borges’s longer tales.
• Similar to stories like The Circular Ruin, The Aleph and many other Borges tales, The Invention of Morel deals with multiple levels of so called reality.
• The language and writing is elegant. Bloy Casares' short novel is akin to Borges' writing in Doctor Brodie’s Report and The Book of Sand, where Borges let go of his more ornate, baroque style.

For the purpose of this review, I will take a specific focus: the relationship between the novel and the author’s and our own experience of film and television.

The 1920s were the heyday of silent films. The first commercially successful sound film, The Jazz Singer, was released in 1929. Black and White 1940s TV was as raw as raw can be – just look at those 1949 TV shows on You Tube. In 1940, the year of publication for The Invention of Morel, ideas about what would become TV where "in the air"; what really had a grip on people’s imagination in the 1920s and 1930s was film, first silent film then film with sound.

So, one can imagine a sensitive, imaginative literary artist like Adolfo Bioy Casares (born 1914) experiencing silent film in the 1920s as a boy and then sound films as a teenager and young man. One thing that makes The Invention of Morel so compelling is just how much of what the narrator and others in the novel experience is parallel to a world saturated with films and TV.

Below are a number of quotes from the novel coupled with my reflections:

“They are at the top of the hill, while I am far below. From here they look like a race of giants .” (page 12) ---------- Darn, if this wasn’t my exact experience when I went to my first movie. I was so overwhelmed by the race of giants ‘up there’ on the screen, I fled from the theater minutes after the movie started.

“I saw the same room duplicated eight times in eight directions as if it were reflected in mirror.” (page 18) ---------- Again, darn. I recall my almost disbelief when, as a kid, I saw the same image repeated a dozen times when I first saw all those TVs turned to the same station in a department store. There was something freaky about the exact movement and image repeated on all those sets.

“I went back to see her the next afternoon, and the next. She was there, and her presence began to take on the quality of a miracle.” (page 25) ---------- How many teenagers, young men and women and even older adults have fallen in love with a movie star and go back to the movies to see their loved one the next night and the next?

“Words and movements of Faustine and the bearded man coincided with those of a week ago. The atrocious eternal return.” (page 41) ---------- In a way, isn’t that the world of movies – the same exact people doing exactly the same thing night after night up there on the screen. Live performances and live theater doesn't even come close to the movie’s eternal return.

“Horrified by Faustine, who was so close to me, actually might be on another planet.” (page 53) ---------- How many men and women who have fallen in love with a star in a film or a TV show where they are so close they can press their hands against the star’s face (the TV screen) come to realize their emotions and feelings are for a being a universe away, far beyond their actual touch?

““Tea for Two” and “Valencia” persisted until after dawn.” (page 62) ---------- Most appropriate! Films and TV thrive on easy-to-remember songs and jingles.

“I began to search for waves and vibrations that had previously been unattainable, to devise instruments to receive and transmit them.” (page 69). ---------- It is as if the author were touching into the collective unconscious desire in 1940 to expand film in different ways, one way being what would become TV.

“ I was certain that my images of persons would lack consciousness of themselves (like the characters in a motion picture).” (page 70) ---------- This is part of a nearly four pages of Morel's internal dialogue. There is a lot here. One reflection: how many people have sacrificed their flesh-and-blood existential reality to make it as a star up there on the silver screen? What happens to the soul of the people in a city like Los Angeles, for example, when the city is taken over by an entire industry dedicated to producing films and shows populated by stars?

I recall a quote from the main character in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance when he goes into a roadside diner and can’t get the waitress’s attention because she is watching TV. He says, “I don’t exist since I’m not on TV.”


Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914-1999) ( )
  GlennRussell | Feb 16, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bioy Casares, Adolfoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
徹, 清水Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
信明, 牛島Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borges, Jorge LuisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Horst, Karl AugustTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Levine, Suzanne JillIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabarte Belacortu, MarioleinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simms, Ruth L. C.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torre, Norah Borges deIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Information from the Spanish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To Jorge Luis Borges
First words
Hoy, en esta isla ha ocurrido un milagro.
Today, on this island, a miracle happened: summer came ahead of time.
Quotations
I intend to show that the world is an implacable hell for fugitives, that its efficient police forces, its documents, newspapers, radio broadcasts, and border patrols have made every error of justice irreparable.
...the memory of men - the probable location of heaven...
I believe we lost immortality because we have not conquered our opposition to death; we keep insisting on the primary, rudimentary idea: that the whole body should be kept alive. We should seek to preserve only the part that has to do with consciousness.
Perhaps my "no hope" therapy is a little ridiculous; never hope, to avoid disappointment; consider myself dead, to keep from dying. Suddenly I see this feeling as a frightening, disconcerting apathy.
We are suspicious of a stranger who tells us his life story, who tells us spontaneously that he has been captured, sentenced to life imprisonment, and that we are is reason for living. We are afraid that he is merely tricking us into buying a fountain pen or a bottle with a miniature sailing vessel inside.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Original title: La invención de Morel
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
From the back cover:
Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of the Screw. This fantastic exploration of virtual realities also bears comparison with the sharpest work of Philip K. Dick. It is a story of suspense and a bizarre romance, in which every detail is a once crystal clear and deeply mysterious.
Inspired by Bioy Casares's fascination with the movie star Louise Brooks, The Invention of Morel has gone on to find such admirers as Julio Cortazar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Octavio Paz. As the model for Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet's Last Year in Marienbad, this classic of modern Latin American literature also changed the history of film.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Jorge Luis Borges declared The Invention of Morel a masterpiece of plotting, comparable to The Turn of the Screw and Journey to .the Centre of the Earth. Set on a mysterious island, Bioy s novella is a story of suspense and exploration, as well as a wonderfully unlikely romance, in which every detail is at once crystal clear and deeply mysterious. Suzanne Jill Levine s revision of Ruth Simm s translation offers a fresh experience of an uncanny work of genius.Inspired by Bioy Casares s fascination with the movie star Louise Brooks, The Invention of Morel has gone on to live a secret life of its own. Greatly admired by Julio Cortazar, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Octavio Paz, the novella helped to usher in Latin American fiction s now famous postwar boom. As the model for Alain Renais and Alain Robbe-Grillet s Last Year in Marienbad, it also changed the history of film.

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.92)
0.5
1 3
1.5 3
2 15
2.5 7
3 77
3.5 34
4 169
4.5 24
5 106

NYRB Classics

An edition of this book was published by NYRB Classics.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 138,091,375 books! | Top bar: Always visible