- Paperback: 258 pages
- Publisher: New Directions; Augmented edition (1964)
- Language: English, Spanish
- ISBN-10: 0811200124
- ISBN-13: 978-0811200127
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 109 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings (English and Spanish Edition) (Spanish) Paperback – 1964
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'Classic' Borges...blazing with the imaginative, the philosophical, the mysterious...in a mixture of dreamworlds, fantasy, and life's labyrinths. -- Jeri Lynn Crippen, Lovin' Life, 1 October 2004
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* "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" -- What if a guy decides to write his own version of Don Quixote, by literally rewriting Quixote word-for-word the exact same? It's surprisingly funny in a nerdy, academic way and very well-executed...why this isn't the first story is beyond me.
* "Theme of the Traitor and the Hero" -- An Irishman writes a biography of his legendary great-grandfather Fergus Kilpatrick, and starts to poke at the hero myth.
* "The House of Asterion" -- I was so ready to forget this one, since it was aggravatingly boring and pointless...until the twist ending. My middle school self would squeal with delight if he read this.
All of the "fictions" (calling them stories implies there's a plot, and there's certainly little of that going around in here) are interesting in their own way, but some get a little too heady. If you don't like reading that requires work, boy will some of the later stories like "The Theologians" and "Averroes' Search" leave you pretty darn frustrated. At times it can feel like you missed out on some required class reading. And it doesn't help that some of the translations feel a little more clunky than necessary.
The essays at the end are pretty nice to see Borges expand on some ideas that show up in his stories, but unless you LOVE philosophy, it makes for some pretty dry reading. And the parables are neat but oddly shoved in with the essays. I think what keeps me from giving this five stars is Borges's genius is muddled by the collection throwing all these different things into one book. TWO introductions is also ridiculous; I could not give less of a crap about William Gibson's rambling, pointless musing on Borges.
But let me be clear: I really, really liked this. Borges was a keen and inventive thinker, and it's obvious how he blazed the trail for a lot of other writers, like Umberto Eco. He's rightfully required reading. I just wish the collection was given as much thought and care as Borges puts into every single one of his fictions.
Unless you're OCD like me. Being a translator myself, I try to buy different translations and read each story/poem from one translation first, and then the other. I've previously read various German and Turkish translations of the stories/poems included in Labyrinths.
I did this with the first part (that corresponds to Ficciones)of Labyrinths,and Everyman's Ficciones, and even though I was expecting Everyman to be better, overall I -very slightly- prefer the translations in this (New Directions) book. (It's a tough call though, each book has its stronger passages, and surprisingly awkward ones that are better replaced by switching to the other).
Overall, a comprehensive Borges selection, and decent translation, hard to go wrong with this.