by Jorge Luis Borges,
Magical realism/Short stories
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Today, I’ll share my thoughts on three stories:
The Form of the Sword
The narrator remembers meeting a man with a scar on his face, who told him how he was wounded. With a cool twist at the end of the story about the identity of the man with the scar.
The context of this story is unusual in this collection: we are in Ireland in the 1920s, at a time of conflict with England.
This time, the theme of the labyrinth is considered in parallel with possible repetitions in history, and even a circular labyrinth, if history repeats itself endlessly.
Theme of the Traitor and the Hero
Also in Ireland. About an author and the plot he comes up with, and a pattern that one might find in murders in history (cf. Julius Cesar for instance).
In many stories, Borges makes multiple references to real authors, some he seemed to enjoy or criticize a lot. What’s remarkable, is how he joins together authors that don’t seem to have really anything in common, like here at the beginning of the story Chesterton and Leibniz!
Death and the Compass
This is about a detective trying to stop a serial killer.
I enjoyed how the number 3 comes recurrently throughout the story, one way or another.
It is a fun story, with a parody element of famous detectives in fiction, but also enriched with Gematria, the study of the numerical value of Hebrew letters. And of course a final twist. I really enjoyed this one a lot.
I sensed that the world was a labyrinth, from which it was impossible to flee.
So far, I have shared notes for one or two stories. For the first time, I decided to share on three stories, as I didn’t have much to say about the first two stories today. It’s fun that the third story would be this one. Not planned at all!
To go more in depth, check the Course Hero page on this book.
Come back tomorrow for my thoughts on next story: The Secret Miracle
HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT,
OR OF THIS STORY?
This is so timely for me! I just saw The Garden of PAths by this same author referenced in a book I was reading (The Simulation Multiverse)- I’ll have to check your review of that since I see you just reviewed it a few days ago! Small world (or good timing, as they say)!
The labyrinth seems to be a concept he deals with in that other story, and dovetails with the author of The Multiverse and his ruminations on possible alternate timelines/ worlds.
Wait, where’s your review? I’m interested in this! You absolutely need to read also this novella: https://wordsandpeace.com/2021/11/16/book-review-the-invention-of-morel/ Major book for that very theme of alternate worlds.
And yes Borges is big into labyrinth, in many stories here, but also in other books too, I think I remember that in Aleph as well. Though I read it a few decades ago… I need to reread it for sure
I haven’t reviewed it yet, but it was fascinating. It’s called the Simulated Multiverse. And I will go and check out that link.
Thanks to your influence, I have book 1 in my TBR. Looking forward to your review