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The Aleph and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) Paperback – July 27, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0142437889 ISBN-10: 0142437883 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (July 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142437883
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437889
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"He more than anyone renovated the language of fiction and thus opened the way to a remarkable generation of Spanish-American novelists. Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, José Donoso, and Mario Vargas Llosa have all acknowledged their debt to him." —J.M. Coetzee, The New York Review of Books



"He has lifted fiction away from the flat earth where most of our novels and short stories still take place." —John Updike



 

About the Author

Andrew Hurley is a translator of numerous works of literature, criticism, history, and memoir. He is professor emeritus at the University of Puerto Rico.
Andrew Hurley is a translator of numerous works of literature, criticism, history, and memoir. He is professor emeritus at the University of Puerto Rico.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Borges make complexities and beautiful thoughts flow without pause.
Cathy Carter
This excellent collection of short stories is an example of the "esthetic of the intelligence" of Borges.
Guillermo Maynez
This is the first of JLB's books that I have read; I will certainly look out more.
S. Langley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 94 people found the following review helpful By James Paris on June 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was surprised to find when I picked up this book that it is not the same selection of stories as the earlier published THE ALEPH AND OTHER STORIES 1933-1969, translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni in collaboration with Borges himself. Instead, it is a translation of two volumes published by Borges in Argentina, THE ALEPH and THE MAKER (EL HACEDOR), translated by Andrew Hurley.

As for the stories themselves, I can say only that they are some of the most magical tales written in the last hundred years, perhaps even ever. Stories like "The Immortal," "Story of the Warrior and the Captive Maiden," "The Zahir," and "The Aleph" are worthy of being read over and over again.

Since I already have these stories in other form by other translators, I wanted to determine how good Hurley's translation is. To that end, I'll compare some of my favorite passages. Let's start with the title story in the Hurley translation:

"Under the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbelievable brightness. At first I thought it was spinning; then I realized that the movement was an illusion produced by the dizzying spectacles inside it. The Aleph was probably two or three centimeters in diameter, but universal space was contained inside it, with no diminution in size. Each thing (the glass surface of a mirror, let us say) was inifinite things, because I could clearly see it from every point in the cosmos."

Here di Giovanni with the same paragraph:

"On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbelievable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realized that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Trying to full describe the writings of Jorge Luis Borges is like trying to explain exactly why Leonardo da Vinci's art still captivates. The man wrote works of art.

"The Aleph and Other Stories" includes two different books of Borges', very different in their styles -- one is rich and epic, while the other is sort of short and quirky. But this collection is a shining example of why people enjoy Borges -- magical, rich in language, and lets us glimpse the minds of anything and anyone he can conjure up.

The title story involves a sort of fictional version of Borges, who makes regular pilgrimages to the house of a woman he loved, and encounters her slightly nuts first cousin Daneri, who is composing a horrible epic poem describing the whole world. When Daneri's house is threatened, he reveals how he's composed the poem -- the Aleph, which he discovered as a child, and he allows Borges to catch a glimpse of... everything.

The other stories have tales of heretics and holy men, of a man's last days awaiting an assassin's bullet, of a girl who coldly seeks revenge for her father, and the Zahir (the opposite of the Aleph), which can cause an all-encompassing obsession in the one who sees it, until they shut out reality.

And in the second book, he spins up a long string of very, VERY short stories (some only a paragraph). Some are musings on his toes, and nothing much more. But there are also brief stories of startling depth, such as God speaking to Dante and the "Divine Comedy's" leopard, and assuring them of their literary immortality.

The main flaw with this collection is that it's basically split into two very dissimilar styles -- some of them are short and relatively plain, while the others are dense pockets of philosophy.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on February 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This excellent collection of short stories is an example of the "esthetic of the intelligence" of Borges. His metaphysic storytelling always goes beyond the immediate, to other cultures, other frontiers and other realities. Borges seeks to capture the essence of Universe and Time, and as a result, he creates stories with an exquisite poetry and an abismal, even terrifying depth. The ones I like the most are. "The immortal", an overwhelming and disconcerting study of the effects immortality would have on humans; "The theologians", an allegory about personal identity, full of erudition and irony; "Emma Zunz", the only realistic tale in the collection, about a sick and terrible revenge; "In search of Averroes", an attempt at depicting the failure of a philosopher who is unable to distinguish between comedy and tragedy; "The writing of the God", or the aprehension of divinity from a pit, thanks to the signs stamped on a jaguar's skin; "The waiting", anguished tale about a resignation and the transformation of reality into dream; and especially "Aleph", fantastic story about that point in the Universe where all points in the Universe meet; a tale that mixes the remembrance of a woman still loved after death, with the absolute vision af the Absolute: the point from where you can see all points. Simply splendid, Borges's literature stands out alone in the history of all literature. There is nothing to which it can be compared. Check for yourself the dimensions of one literary giant. Come find out what you thought you'd never be looking for.
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