Published on: Friday, May 1, 2015 Takoma Park Newsletter

Jorge Luis Borges to be the next Reading Group challenge

Join the Friends of the Library Reading Group on Wednesday, May 13, as they discuss selections from the collection “Ficciones,” by Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). The discussion will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Rose Room of the Community Center.

“Borges was an Argentine poet, essayist, and short story writer who is considered one of the foremost figures in world literature of the 20th century,” according to the New World Encyclopedia. “Borges’s reputation rests primarily on his complex and startlingly original short stories, which…present relatively simple philosophical propositions or thought experiments – What would it be like to be immortal? What would it be like if one could not forget anything? – and proceed through fantastic dream-like narratives… His works have been included by critics in the category of ‘magical realism,’ which introduces some magical elements into an otherwise realist narrative.”

“The seventeen pieces in ‘Ficciones’ demonstrate the whirlwind of Borges’s genius and mirror the precision and potency of his intellect and inventiveness, his piercing irony, his skepticism, and his obsession with fantasy,” adds the publisher’s note. “Borges sends us on a journey into a compelling, bizarre and profoundly resonant realm; we enter the fearful sphere of Pascal’s abyss, the surreal and literal labyrinth of books and the iconography of eternal return. To enter the worlds in ‘Ficciones’ is to enter the mind of Jorge Luis Borges, wherein lies Heaven, Hell and everything in between.”

According to John Updike, “…Borges has lifted fiction away from the flat earth where most of our novels and short stories still take place.” A reviewer in The Atlantic Monthly wrote that its stories “throb with uncanny and haunting power.” And Mario Vargas Llosa has called Borges “the most important Spanish-language writer since Cervantes.”

All are welcome to join the Friends’ book discussions. Copies of “Ficciones” are available at the Library.

This article appeared in the May 2015 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.