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May 22, 2007


just finished Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley :: was amazed by it, especially the five stories that make up "The Garden of Forking Paths", although "Funes, The Memories" seems to be the more popular introduction to Borges :: ("The Gospel of Mark" was also exceptionally creepy.)

"...like every writer, he measured other men's virtues by what they had accomplished, yet asked that other men measure him by what he planned someday to do." - from "The Secret Miracle"

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You might have already seen this one, but maybe not. It's a poem from Borges, somewhat popular here in South America:


If I could live again my life,
In the next - I’ll try,
- to make more mistakes,
I won’t try to be so perfect,
I’ll be more relaxed,
I’ll be more full - than I am now,
In fact, I’ll take fewer things seriously,
I’ll be less hygienic,
I’ll take more risks,
I’ll take more trips,
I’ll watch more sunsets,
I’ll climb more mountains,
I’ll swim more rivers,
I’ll go to more places - I’ve never been,
I’ll eat more ice creams and less (lime) beans,
I’ll have more real problems - and less imaginary ones,
I was one of those people who live
prudent and prolific lives -
each minute of his life,
Of course that I had moments of joy - but,
if I could go back I’ll try to have only good moments,

If you don’t know – that’s what life is made of,
Don’t lose the now!

I was one of those who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer,
without a hot-water bottle,
and without an umbrella and without a parachute,

If I could live again - I will travel light,
If I could live again - I’ll try to work bare feet
at the beginning of spring till the end of autumn,
I’ll ride more carts,
I’ll watch more sunrises and play with more children,
If I have the life to live - but now I am 85,
- and I know that I am dying …

Posted by: Gustavo Beathyate at May 22, 2007 11:23 AM

The Aleph is one of my favorite stories of all time and I can't even pinpoint what it is I like so much about it. Every time I read it, I am amazed by something new.

May I suggest a more modern writer you might like?

Try "Things That Fall From The Sky" by Kevin Brockmeier

A young master of his craft. (sorry... it's the bookseller in me... I pimp that Borges collection like crazy at the store)

Posted by: consumatron at May 22, 2007 10:08 PM

I think reading "The Aleph" is what did it. I used to imagine Borges was writing about little epiphanies and how there is everything to know in them. I always thought he had the answer or at least he would know where to find it. Now I think that there is nothing to know in those moments, or at least nothing permanent; there are many answers/reasons/purposes.

Now you might like to try some Cortazar. Unreal.

Posted by: megan64 at May 23, 2007 2:35 AM

If you liked borges then now it's time for julio cortazar. I personally suggest "cronopios and famas" and "end of the game".

Posted by: KA at May 23, 2007 5:04 AM

sounds like our mr borges doesn't enjoy his current life so much ey. lol

A journey of a young, UK based, Muslim

Posted by: shaz at May 23, 2007 11:38 PM

Borges is one of my favourite authors and he has had an interesting influence on semioticians, philosophers, and literary critics like Umberto Eco, Michel Foucault, and Roland Barthes.
I often think about Pierre Ménard, Author of The Quixote.

Posted by: Alexandre at May 25, 2007 2:30 PM

Loteria (Lottery?) was my favorite. Talk about creepy.

Posted by: rebecca at May 26, 2007 1:14 AM

It warms my heart to hear of your discovery of the genius Mr. Borges. His "Labyrinths" was the first book I’ve ever had to read with an open dictionary alongside it, and i re-read it every few months. I recommend the excellent "Collected non-fictions". He wrote a review of the original King Kong film! I have to say though, I don’t think you should have started with a translation by Andrew Hurley. Many people feel as I do that he has over-modernised Borges' Cambridge-educated older style of prose. Ooops, overlong comment!

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