Books · Read in 2023 · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Fictions (Jorge Luis Borges)

Was this just a little too literary? For now?

★★★★☆ – CALSPIE 7.57

Title: Fictions
Author: Jorge Luis Borges
Translator: Andrew Hurley (from Spanish)
Genre: Fiction / Short Stories / Modern Classic
First published: 1944
Edition:  Paperback, published by Penguin Modern Classics in 2000

Jorge Luis Borge’s Fictions introduced an entirely new voice into world literature. It is here we find the astonishing accounts of Funes, the man who can forget nothing; the French poet who recreated Don Quixote word for word; the fatal lottery in Babylon; the mysterious planet of Tlön; and the library containing every possible book in the whole universe. Here too are the philosophical detective stories and the haunting tales of Irish revolutionaries, gaucho knife fights and dreams within dreams which proved so influential (and yet impossible to imitate).


This was a peculiar collection of stories and I am not quite sure how to feel about it or how to put together my thoughts on it. I enjoyed it. At least I think I did.

I liked the tone of the stories and I liked how quickly the characters embedded themselves, even if you were mostly just dropped into a story somewhere apparently random. Some of the stories are magical realism of some sort and the overall tone is kind of strange, not quite grounded. I am not sure how to describe it.

This collection does read very literary and although I don’t mind that, sometimes it felt like the author was being too high-brow, even for me. I am not entirely sure what made me feel that way, but something did.

I have to admit that though in general I enjoyed these stories just fine, I could not possibly pretend that I ‘got’ it all. I liked that there was a running theme through both sections (‘Fictions’ and ‘Artifices’). Obviously literature was a big theme in Fictions, as well as writers of all sorts. But religion and existential crises also featured in a big way.

I may well need to revisit this collection in the future to fully appreciate it. I would like to think I will do so.

3.75 out of 5 stars



  • Characters: 8
  • Ambience: 7.5
  • Language: 8
  • Story: 7
  • Pacing: 7
  • Interest: 8
  • Enjoyment: 7.5

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