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Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges

The writing of Borges is such that you’ll yearn for its intricacies, the diaphanous structures, and his fevered fictive inventions that dwell on the threshold of truth, creative imagination, and scientific transience. You’ll yearn for his stories especially when they become memories, faded, untidy, and tangled. That is when his stories become precious and rewarding.

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It’s, oftentimes, heartbreaking to know it’ll never be enough to read Borges once, twice, thrice… a hundred times over. Because I want to know the how and the why of the myriad functions of his storytelling.

As Borges repeatedly provokes the reader to confront the question: who is writing the story? I found myself getting carried away by one tangent only to realize, a few sentences later, how allusive and brief its poetic meaning and metaphoric depth is until I’m catapulted into yet another. The cycle repeats itself ad infinitum.

It’s true his stories transcend how we look at fiction, its baroqueness, fluidity, and most importantly, its panoramic ideality. You’ll lose reality as you’re reading Borges until reality itself loses you.

Perhaps that is one of the functions of his writing, his incisive exploration of dreams, time, memory, art, science, beauty, decay, love, and loss. These are words that haven’t been read the same way twice. He’ll invoke such beautiful imagery in his stories and even if you barely manage to catch hold of some pieces of the puzzle, from his labyrinth, his vision gets through.

In a lot of ways, I think, Borges unmasks the ambiguity of the universe through dreams, memories, space, time, and the symmetry of language.

In ‘The Aleph’ he defines the Soul, the unknowable, as a “sphere whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.” In ‘The Garden of Forking Paths’ he thinks of books as “a volume whose last page would be the same as the first and so have the possibility of continuing indefinitely.”

So you’re reading all his stories – simultaneously – even as you’re reading just one.


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