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Marcus senses the city's antiquity and wanders along staircases and inlaid floors of a labyrinthine palace thinking how all what he sees is the work of the gods or, more accurately, gods who have died or, even, perhaps, since much of the architecture appears to lack any trace of practical purpose, gods who were mad.

Is the erasure of our memory the first step in achieving immortality? To a subsequent rebirth or afterlife in another state? To our own personal history? How much of history is so much smoke and mirrors? And for good reason - my universe is, in fact, expanding a thousand-fold! Such sheer imaginative power. There are nearly fifty stories and brief tales collected here and every tale worth reading multiple times. For the purposes of continuing this review, I will focus on 4 stories, the first 3 being no longer than 2 pages.

Sorry, I am getting too carried away. After claiming victory in a bloody war, the king of the Arabs leads the king of Babylonia, in turn, into a different kind of labyrinth, and says, ". The parents recover their son who is now a man and bring him back to their home. The man remembers exactly where he hid a knife. Not long thereafter, the man, now an Indian in spirit, returns to the wilderness. The story ends with a question, "I would like to know what he felt in that moment of vertigo when past and present intermingled; I would like to know whether the lost son was reborn and died in that ecstatic moment, and he ever managed to recognize, even as a baby or a dog might, his parents and the house.

After reading Borges, I can assure you, memory and identity have become ongoing themes for me also. In two short paragraphs Borges gives us a tale where we are told, "Fate is partial to repetitions, variations, symmetries. Let's just say life is always bigger than human-made notions of life. There is a little something here for anybody who cherishes literature - a dearly departed lover named Beatriz, a madman and poet named Carlos Argentino Daneri, who tells the first person narrator, a man by the name of Borges, about seeing the Aleph, and, of course, the Aleph.

What will this Borges undergo to see the Aleph himself? We read, "I followed his ridiculous instructions; he finally left. He carefully let down the trap door; in spite of a chink of light that I began to make out later, the darkness seemed total. Suddenly I realized the danger I was in; I had allowed myself to be locked underground by a madman, after first drinking down a snifter of poison. I dare anybody who has an aesthetic or metaphysical bone in their body to read this story and not make the Aleph a permanent part of their imagination.

Go ahead. Take the risk. Be fascinated and enlarged. Have the universe and all its details spinning in your head. Read this book. View all 26 comments. May 18, Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing Shelves: weird-fiction , short-stories. This is a masterful collection by a writer of genius. I believe The Aleph is just as good as Fictions ," and Fictions is as good as any book of short pieces produced in the 20th Century. If you like paradoxes, puzzles, doppelgangers and labyrinths used as metaphors for the relation of microcosm to macrocosm and the fluid nature of personal identity, then this is the book for you.

These stories are profound, but they are written in such an entertaining traditional narrative style that they might o This is a masterful collection by a writer of genius. These stories are profound, but they are written in such an entertaining traditional narrative style that they might often be mistaken for pulp fiction if they weren't so astonishingly elegant. View all 10 comments. May 22, BlackOxford rated it it was amazing Shelves: spanish-american. Not to say anything important but merely to understand how they depend on one another.

I think it is clear that Borges borrowed from Lovecroft. But I think the influences may be much more widely seen in the detail of the stories. One obvious connection is the way both authors use the Arabic world, and Islam especially, as a focus for spiritual mystery. Borges admitted to trying to write in the Arabic tradition during a seminar in the 's. Lovecroft flirted with Islam in his young adulthood and clearly is familiar with Islamic, particularly Sufi, mythology.

Another connection between the two authors is their use of space in a story to represent spiritual awakening, often in an inverted form: Lovecroft tends downward, inward into the earth and to the South when he enters the realm of the soul, hell, and fear. Perhaps this reflects his New England upbringing and the remnants of Puritan myth. Borges also goes downward but then typically rises upwards and puts his most primitive worlds in the North.

Could the swamps and relative wildness of Uruguay and the Ibera Wetlands be a sort of gnostic symbol of earthly chaos directly opposed to Protestant certainties? Who knows, maybe in my twilight years something will emerge. View all 17 comments. May 26, Cecily rated it it was amazing Shelves: short-stories-and-novellas , magical-realism , south-america , scifi-future-speculative-fict , jorge-luis-borges.

It is perhaps most central to The Zahir. I have the Collected Fictions with copious translator's notes , but am splitting my review of that into its components, listed in publication order: Collected Fictions - all reviews. This is the fourth, published in The now familiar Borgesian tropes are also here in abundance too: time, reality and dreams, immortality, infinity, mirrors and opposites, labyrinths, recursion and circularity, memory.

And what an opening premise: a story by a rare-book dealer, found by a princess, in a copy of The Ilyad! The story itself is about a mysterious, obsessive quest to find the secret City of the Immortals. The journey includes Roman soldiers; escape; loneliness; fear of otherness; extraordinary architecture; finding a way through a labyrinth of caves, ladders, doors and multiple rooms; sinister troglodytes, references to The Odyssey, and much musing on life, death, mortality, and the nature of time.

The city is found — abandoned and part ruined. The one the traveller befriends, and names Argos after the dog in the Odyssey, turns out to be Homer himself. His obsession is gaining power. The Theologians A rather dry piece that perks up towards the end. It concerns two sects, each of which thinks the other heretical, compounded by a pair of believers in a doctrine, and one protagonist is obsessed with gaining the intellectual upper-hand. Are they allies the same or opponents opposites? Are contrasting stories essentially two sides of the same story?

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This is only three pages long, and the story starts halfway through. An unbelievable story may convince everyone if the substance is true. Her story is believed, and the fact of revenge absolves her guilt. Then you realise how, why - and who. The Other Death Does each choice or change create a new path through time? Grim but dull memories of a bloody civil war followed by interesting diversions into truth versus memory and the omnipotence of god, encapsulated in the question of whether a hero and a coward with the same name are two people, or two facets of one.

He engenders no sympathy, but I did, reluctantly, feel the desire to be understood had been partially achieved. Others will dream that I am mad, while I dream of the Zahir. This opens by listing the many meanings of the word, zahir, in different languages and cultures.

The one that matters here is an object that can inspire obsession to the extent that the victim loses touch with reality. All sorts of things have been zahirs in mythology, but this one is an innocent-looking coin that Borges is given in a bar, when drowning his sorrows about a lost, dead love a woman with an obsession of her own: glamour and perfection. It has the letters N and T scratched on it.

Money is abstract… Money is future time. In Deutsches Requiem , a couple of stories earlier, the idea of being driven to madness by being fixated on a single thing even a map of Hungary is mentioned, and that idea is extended here. In fact, it contained almost everything like an Aleph — the final story in this collection.

Another obsession-inducing object is The Book of Sand , in the collection of the same name. Following on from The Zahir, his growing obsession with this tiger is no surprise. The priest believes the god created a secret magical phrase that is hidden in creation and can ward off evil. He may have seen it many times, without realizing it, or without understanding it. The obsession drives him to the brink of insanity. He has a final revelation, but it was unique to him and it dies with him.

He unpicks the less plausible aspects of the story, turns it round, and suggests an alternative. He keeps to himself, goes out rarely and cautiously, tries to live in the present, and scours the news to discover if the other man has died. Everyone claimed either to have never heard of, let alone seen him, or to have seen him moments ago. Finally, a very old man seems to know something, though what he knows is obscure and its relevance unclear, especially because he seems to be talking about events many years ago.

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Borges visits the house of his love each year, on the anniversary of her death, staying a little longer each time, until he ends up a dinner guest. The house is demolished, but rather than be broken by Borges' implication, the poet, liberated from his obsession, publishes his poetry — and wins prizes for it. View all 33 comments. Sep 18, Owlseyes inside Notre Dame, it's so strange a hour blaze and Then he went to Europe The first story is about the writing of God; about a magician Tzinacan, imprisoned; he finds a way out….

The second story is about the Zahir, the coin, first gotten as money change from a drink "aguardente". It all starts with the death of actress Teodelina Villar. She was more interested in perfection rather than beauty. On the 16th of July the narrator bought 1 sterling pound, and studied it under the magnifying glass. In August, due to insomnia, he had to consult with a psychiatrist. He could not get rid of a fixed idea. Ah, the zahir,the coin…the narrator got rid of it,… in a drink. Mostly, stories to ponder.

To enjoy their full color. Maybe to get perplexed. To start searching for meaning. Identity too. Stories to be read not once. But 9 times. Or 99 times; Preferably over 99 years. View all 8 comments. You're avoiding a single star, Borges, simply because I try my best not to dish them out. There's little value in reading if one is going to try consider ways to dislike doing it. I love your ideas, but not your executions. Reading through the contents list, I can easily choose five or six stories whose very conception alone excite me The Immortal, The Zahir, The Writing of The God, The House of Asterion , but you continually bashed me over the head with names, places, dates, literary and histor You're avoiding a single star, Borges, simply because I try my best not to dish them out.

Reading through the contents list, I can easily choose five or six stories whose very conception alone excite me The Immortal, The Zahir, The Writing of The God, The House of Asterion , but you continually bashed me over the head with names, places, dates, literary and historical allusions all of which I recognise as necessary to legitimise a story's authenticity , but I simply wanted a story, not a reference manual.

It would have been fine had the stories been chunkier, but when I have five or more consecutive lines of undiluted information being dunked into me, I'm more than likely going to have to return to the beginning of the sentence to remind myself what it was originally about. To my mind it seems the reason you didn't get that award from the guys in Sweden was because you simply tried much too hard to get it. But I'll give you the respect you clearly deserve by putting you back in my bookshelf where you sat before, instead of throwing you with the scrapheap in the corner.

Sep 10, Florencia rated it it was amazing Shelves: argentine-books-reviewed , borgesianism , argentine , stories-and-novellas-for-this-life. I know why I didn't write a review. I wrote several reviews about Borges' books and I got tired of saying how amazing this writer was. Will always be. This is one of the greatest short stories collections I've ever read. There are ordinary situations combined with magical events, sometimes very subtle, sometimes not. But it's there. And they're all beautifully written. This guy created an amazing universe that will surely captivate you, if you give it a chance.

I think about it and dsadsafsafs. View 2 comments. This book of short tales by Jorge Luis Borges is perhaps the most brilliant compendium of fantastic stories that the author has written. Among others, we find: "The immortal" , "The dead" , "The theologians" , "History of the warrior and the captive" and the central story that has the most eloquent burden of mystery and metaphysical depth: "The Aleph".

In this last story, the author in person is the protagonist. After the death of his beloved friend Beatriz Viterbo, Borges does not miss the appointm This book of short tales by Jorge Luis Borges is perhaps the most brilliant compendium of fantastic stories that the author has written. After the death of his beloved friend Beatriz Viterbo, Borges does not miss the appointment to visit his house, located on Garay Street; every April 30, her birthday. Beatriz's first cousin, Carlos Argentino Daneri, welcomes Borges on that date and does not miss the opportunity to show his skillful prolific writer skills, exposing Borges tireless writings saturated with detailed descriptions of various places around the world.

After some time, Carlos Argentino Daneri makes Borges a desperate phone call: Zunino and Zungri, the rich owners of the house, intend to demolish it to expand one of their most successful businesses. Daneri exalted, confesses to Borges that inside the house is an Aleph, which is a point in space that contains all the points.

Borges cuts the communication understanding that the exasperating Daneri is no longer a madman. However, the author visits Daneri, who tells him a specific place under the basement staircase where the Aleph is safely located. Borges' astonishment is infinite; Just as infinite is the point of view offered by the Aleph: a iridescent sphere about three centimeters in diameter, from which you can see all the places in the world at once, all the mirrors of the world, the cities, the deserts , all the ants of the planet, the letters of all the books of all the libraries, the own visceras, letters kept in forgotten boxes, in short, the whole universe.

Finally, Borges shows Daneri indifference and refuses to discuss the observed, simply leaving. The house is demolished inexorably. My intention was never to write anything about it, to let it flow, to carry on with my life. My brain may be fried, but my soul feels somewhat soothed. Reading him is like facing the Zahir: something that seeds in one's soul a never-ending obsession in life's groundless soil.

If life's formula were written in the patterns of a tiger's fur, then Borges's writings would be the alter ego of that tiger. I read all the books in the world condensed in a few pages, but none of them reflected how I feel about this book in particular. I saw myself, never visiting my aunt and never finding her Kabbalah study texts and never getting interested in such theories, and ergo, in Borges neither. I saw myself at a noisy party, drinking cheap booze with friends and such, instead of staying at home, feeling the weight of solitude, trying to find a meaning to cling to and reading how Buddhism influenced Borges.

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Reading him may not be like reading the writing of God, but I'm sure it is an accurate translation of it. View all 9 comments. This is the second Borges book that I have read though the first in Spanish , and I have found that my reaction was an echo of the first. With Borges, I have the constant sensation that the writing is superlative and the style very much to my taste; yet somehow I often manage to be uninspired.

The typical Borgesian themes—the collapse of personal identity, the sense of a mysterious connection, the obsession with a sort of occult understanding of a higher reality—make me uneasy, and at times str This is the second Borges book that I have read though the first in Spanish , and I have found that my reaction was an echo of the first. The typical Borgesian themes—the collapse of personal identity, the sense of a mysterious connection, the obsession with a sort of occult understanding of a higher reality—make me uneasy, and at times strike me as a kind of armchair mysticism: the translation of spiritual impulses into erudite literature.

And I am suspicious of anyone who uses their learning to intentionally create obscurity. This only applies when his style falls flat. This is the trademark Borges effect; and, to my mind, all of his stories are aimed at evoking this same feeling. As a result, the stories are hit or miss for me. My problem is that, when the mysterious Borges effect fails to manifest, I am left with dense and at times dry prose no doubt intentionally so , which I have trouble enjoying.

Thus I was somewhat disappointed as I read—no doubt unfairly, since his literary talent is impossible to deny. Jan 14, Daniela rated it it was amazing. What is there to say about Jorge Luis Borges that hasn't been said before? Not much. Borges is a wonderful story-teller. His world is one of mysticism and magic, and paradoxically, of raw realism. It's a world of serious philosophical thoughts and of detective plots. The Aleph is a window for everything that the world contains; perhaps that is the perfect description of Borges's stories.

I must admit, however, that some of the stories didn't awe me that much. I infinitely prefer when Borges write What is there to say about Jorge Luis Borges that hasn't been said before? I prefer the stories that have a supernatural element, or that suffered the clear influence of Conan Doyle. The stories about gauchos and Argentine folk if we can call it that, leave me strangely unimpressed. Perhaps because I cannot connect to that world as I connect to others. As Borges says in his commentaries at the end of the book, "all theologians have denied God one miracle - that of undoing the past".

One can argue that this story fits more the "supernatural" category than the Argentine gaucho category but no matter. The stories where Borges dissociates from himself and sees himself through a mirror are some of my favourite as well. The blind Homer which isn't Homer at all but Borges, was unexpectedly moving, as though Borges was revealing one of his inner secrets. Still, apart from the Aleph and another couple of stories, I found that the most interesting writing of this volume is Borges's autobiography.

It is always refreshing and comforting to read the thoughts of a man who has learned much about life and is willing to share that knowledge. Despite being 71, he wrote of his future plans with the enthusiasm of youth. And he was right: he went on to live more 15 years. I finish this review with the final lines of his autobiography: "In a way, youthfulness seems closer to me today than when I was a young man.

I no longer regard happiness as unattainable; once, long ago, I did. Now I know that it may occur at any moment but that it should never be sought after. As to failure or fame, they are quite irrelevant and I never bother about them. What I'm out for now is peace, the enjoyment of thinking and of friendship, and, though it may be too ambitious, a sense of loving and of being loved. This is the 2nd time I try to read these stories. This time I tried in Spanish very bad idea- too difficult for my level and then came back to the Romanian translation.

I liked the ideas such as for the Immortals but the author continually put references of different names, places, dates, literary and historical citations that in my opinion made the story unpleasant to read. I understand the author is very well read and he drew inspiration from all the book he cites Iliad, Hamlet, etc but This is the 2nd time I try to read these stories.

I understand the author is very well read and he drew inspiration from all the book he cites Iliad, Hamlet, etc but i think they disrupt the flow of the story. I will come back to it after I read more and I will be wiser. View all 4 comments. Jun 14, Ian "Marvin" Graye rated it it was amazing Shelves: borges , reviewsstars , read , reviews.

He was a great frequenter of antiquarian bookshops in Rome, at one of which he encountered and purchased for his future studies a collection of books formerly owned by the subject of his work. In one of these books, he found a photograph of two sentences written in ancient Greek, upon the reverse side of which the late Pope had written a translation in both German and English.

In fact, it was our son who first drew this photograph to my attention. As I type these words, I am holding a copy of the photograph by which I mean that images of both sides of the photo are set out together on the one side of the sheet of paper; I know, because it was I who created this facsimile with my phone camera and some software I had downloaded onto my computer in my surgically gloved hands. May 06, Katia N rated it it was amazing. So this time around I did not know what to expect. And this time around I am totally in awe to his genius.

I would finish the story and go back to the beginning to read it again. This collection was written later that The Fictions.

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And makes you to look at it with the new eyes. This is darker, more diverse and more grounded in the day-to-day reality, or maybe, it tries to catch that threshold between day-to-day and our consciousness. In many of this stories, he brings Borges as a narrator to be a character within the story. This brings the events almost painfully close. As in all his work, the ideas of time, metaphors and symbols, the symmetry and labyrinths, the coins and the swords, the identity and betrayal, the divinity and infinity, are all present.

So any individual approaching these stories will take away something unique. Below are just few of my thoughts on the stories. Aleph - the concept of reality as diverse but single whole containing infinitely many, containing infinity. Borges in the story was able to see it, but only for a brief time. The concept reminded the beauty of monism of Advaita Vedanta, the branch of indian phisophy. I am not fan of the lists in literature. But here the story contains the long list of things Borges sees looking at Aleph.

And the list is probably the most powerful of a kind. Aleph is also the mathematical symbol if the smallest infinity. However, the story is not only about abstract. It masterfully connects the world of human passions with the abstract notions. The limits of imagination and our own preconceptions. He cannot do it. But at the end of the story he disappears together with the whole world just created by Borges on the page.

And the reason - Borges thinks his power of properly imagine Averroes is as limited by his background and knowledge as Averroes power of imagining a tragedy. The direction of civilisation with time. A barbarian soldier, stunned by the beauty of Ravenna, changes the sides and fights for the Romans. The conclusion seem to be clear. But it is immediately juxtaposed with the story of an english girl kidnapped by an Indian tribe and totally assimilated with their ways of living.

Perhaps the story i have recounted is a single story. To God, the obverse and reverse of this coin are the same. What better way to worship these twin gods than with a two-wheeled pilgrimage to an abbey where monks have been brewing for centuries? The mile Trappist Route is a self-guided bike tour that starts and ends at Westmalle, home to the eponymous beer.

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Waheeda Harris. Imagine standing amid a six-football-field expanse of colourful light bulbs a couple of hundred metres from Uluru, the monolithic red rock at the heart of Australia and one of the most sacred Indigenous sites in the world. The piece is located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and can be visited on foot at sunrise or sunset. Or you can opt to go all out and see it from a helicopter. Jordan Kretchmer. See waterfalls gushing through cave walls, prehistoric fossils and a cave covered in glittering crystals.

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Yusuf Huysal. Houssine Bouchama. Unlike other volcanic destinations that tend to keep you well away from molten lava, at Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala you can experience the hot flowing bubbles up close. So close, in fact, that you're able to roast marshmallows and hot dogs above the fiery streams with no barriers or guards on-site. Jenna Jonaitis. And, of course, there are floor-to-ceiling shelves of thick books. K aren Burshtein. If sipping champagne is like drinking stars, then kayaking across a bioluminescent sea is like paddling through them.

With each push of your paddle, the blade is tracked by thousands of points of light. Margaret Littman. The Montenegro Express has been virtually untouched since its Soviet-era construction — it was opened by President Tito himself — and it continues to roll along one of the last historic railways in the region.

Savour this experience before it inevitably vanishes. K risty Alpert. Spare some time and camera memory for art that leaves a lasting impression. Wander through this digitally rendered, kaleidoscopic natural world featuring six-metre high waterfalls, fluttering butterflies that disperse as you touch them, scattered cherry blossom and more. Nicole-Marie Ng.

Check out Singapore's complete DO List here. San Franciscans are fresh out of luck though, with ticket costs soaring above even New York prices. Visitors take on this challenge in droves, to be rewarded with sweeping verdant vistas, towering waterfalls and picture-perfect swimming holes seemingly around every corner.


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There is an embarrassment of natural riches along the road to Hana, but the sweetest reward for weary drivers is manmade. Before you hop back in your Jeep, grab a baggie of toasted coconut pieces for the road. Check out Maui's complete DO List here. Our favourite part? The escaramuza, where teams of gorgeously dressed women compete, riding sidesaddle. Mariel Cruz. Check out Mexico's complete DO List here. Stop snapping riverside shots just long enough to head inside and explore the treasure box Scottish Design Galleries.

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Plan to stay late, but arrive early: while tickets are available on the door, space is a hot commodity and the night has been known to sell out. Nathan Ma. Check out Berlin's complete DO List here. Its two wondrously sci-fi looking biomes top 50 metres and house 2, tropical and Mediterranean plant species, including the rare, stinky and much-maligned Corpse Flower. Thrillseekers can explore the Rainforest Biome via a heartstoppingly high aerial walkway complete with simulated monsoons and even zipwire across the whole structure at 60mph.

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