January 28, 2011

Literary Pick (**)

Labrynth -Jorge Luis Borges

Infinities, dreams, mirrors, labrynths, immortalities, Quixote.

I purchased this book by accident. I actually meant to get any book by Mario Vargas Llosa, but when I got to the bookstore I'd forgotten Llosas' name and thought it was Borges I'd meant to get. After reading the first 3 short stories I realized this was not the same writer who'd won the nobel prize for lit in 2010. I searched online and it turns out that Borges had always wanted to win the nobel prize but was never awarded the honors, something that always irked him in his literary career. Although I'm not familiar with Llosas' or Borges' works (yet) something inside told me this was not the book I intended to read. Not that I wouldn't have eventually worked my way towards it down the road, I actually had it on my to-reads list for a while but later removed it. Perhaps because in reading some reviews I felt it was literarture I wasn't ready to tackle just yet. Anyway, one can imagine how silly I felt. I guess my gut feeling was right because this book is pretty profound. There's a certain level of enlightment that is needed to understand what Borges is talking about. I couldn't begin to explain what the first few stories were about, however, I did enjoy the Theologans, The immortal, and The Three Versions of Judas and The Wall of Books. To be honest, Borges' stories are the kind that are difficult to describe to someone else. Fortunately, prose is a sufficient enough gap-filler. Luckily for me I don't have to comprehend a story in its entirety in order to enjoy reading it. I usually fly through books, but at the suggestion of a friend I took my time with Borges. When it comes to certain works by authors of distinction like Nabokov, Homer, and Faulkner, I like to relish them at a leasurely pace. So Borges, in my opinion deserved the same respect. The question is whether or not I enjoyed reading the Labrynth.. I guess I did, to a certain extent. Borges is a man of ideas and philosophies. His stories seem to transform into studies, and you get the sense he's trying to figure things out as he goes along, and this invites the reader to form their own hypothesis. It was certainly the most challenging book I ever read and I have no regrets. I'd be interested in reading something else by Borges, more along the lines of a complete single work instead of a collection of short stories which tend to wear me out. For now I give Borges a high 2 rating.



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