Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Book of Sand - Jorge Luis Borges

"...this book was called the Book of Sand, because neither the book nor the sands has any beginning or end."

The collection of short stories published towards the end of the literary career of Borges,  according to him is the best he has ever written. He was almost blind and at the twilight of his illustrious career as a writer. But, that and his words as a testimony does not make them as his best.  "The volume includes thirteen stories.The number is accidental, or fatal - here the two words are strictly synonymous- and not magical" says he in the author's note. " In these blind man's exercises, I have tried to be faithful to the example of H.G.Wells in combining the plain and at times almost colloquial style with a fantastic plot." , he conclude saying "I write for myself and for my friends, and I write  to ease the passing of time".

Some of them are to his admittance autobiographical ( the one richest in memories).  Most of the stories in this book can be identified as the reminiscence of an aging man trying to fabricate the tales of his yester-years  through scenarios, events, dreamlike sequences and encounters. The other, opening story has the confrontation with his own alter ego , in Cambridge  near Charles River. The Congress and "The Book of Sand" are the two other stories I found good in this. Avelino Arredondo, a story about a Political murder in the last decade in Uruguay is another interesting story.

These stories aren't the precipitation of all that wisdom and learning of a man who enthralled the readers for years. Despite his claim as his most significant work, for the strict Borges readers , both ficcions and labyrinth probably be superior to this collection.  One can observe the reflection of those writings in these pages, and it do have few classy stories to its credit. Borges gives us a hasty afterwords helping the readers into the context of his stories. He says he prefer an afterwords because prefacing the stories not yet read, is somewhat impossible task, since it demand analysis of plots. Not the greatest of the writing of Borges, but the stamp and touch of a great writer is evident in every page. I should get back to 'Labyrinth' soon.
The Book of Sand (1975)

Jorge Luis Borges ( translated from Spanish by Norman thomas di Giovanni)

Allen Lane

94 Pages
Latinoes, Wiki

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