A Review of Jorge Luis Borges' "Collected Fictions"

A Review of Jorge Luis Borges' "Collected Fictions"

Collected Fictions Fantastic Short Stories



   Jorge Luis Borges the writer from Buenos Aires, Argentina was an award winning writer and among the most critically acclaimed writers of the 20th century.  Awarded numerous honorary degrees from a number of English speaking educational institutions he published essays, short stories, and poetry. Among these accomplishments, his Collected Fictions is the English speaker's entrance guide to the mind, imagination, and spirit of this author.  


      Andrew Hurley who has numerous translation credits in his background translated this particular volume.  The fictions are presented in the chronological order that they were published and often include the original forward or introductions.  At the end of the volume is some 40 pages of notes intended to assist the non-Latin American/South American with details and particulars that would assist in the reading and understanding of the stories. 


      Mr. Borges' short stories are some of the most unique fictional inventions I have read.  Throughout many of the stories, there are some common themes that particularly fascinate Mr. Borges.  Among them are: labyrinths, tigers, dreams, libraries, gauchos, knife fights, cities, and history (both real and imagined).  It is in the combination of these themes and the use of fantasy that set apart his stories.  It is certain that these fictions have had a remarkable influence around the world in the preceding century due to the inventiveness of characters, carefully constructed plots, balanced descriptions of scenery and a comfortable narration style. 


      "The Immortal" is among the more striking and amazing of the fictions.  Carefully, researched the background for the story is set in history and combines a number of sources to give the appropriate setting.  The characters for this particular story are famous persons from history.  What the characters discover is an entirely different world perspective in existence for many years.  The exploration of memory and how memory meets the stream of everyday life forms an additional theme to this story.  This story alone was worth the price of admission let alone the many others of various lengths that form the work of this great Argentinean writer.