Friday, April 7, 2017

Fiction Friday (50)

It's April. I'm embarrassed that this is the first Fiction Friday post of the year. So much for my trying to increase my reading. Well, not exactly. I've read mountains of academic articles and textbooks in past four months, but I would never bore you all with those readings. I also suffered a setback when I spent a month reading a book that I just couldn't get into enough to finish, a habit that I very rarely partake in. But all that aside, the Fiction Friday file is back and here is the first filing of the year...and it's a great one. Hopefully these posts will increase in frequency from now on. Enjoy. 

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
(Grove Press, 1994)
This collection of short fiction was my first introduction to Borges, which is a little odd that it took me so long to come around to reading his work given my love of this kind of writing and obsession with Grove Press material from the time period. But alas, it was my introduction and I have to say the introduction went well.

I was hooked from the first story about a strange encyclopedia which seemed to chronicle an alternate history of worlds and later fell in love with the story of Babel and a circular mystery piece which reminded me of Robbe-Grillet's Erasers. If my descriptions sound cryptic and a little disjointed, well that's because Borges' writing is cryptic and a little disjointed, which is precisely what I like about it.

I've encountered similar writing styles in novels and am pleased to see it work so well in shorter works. In some cases it works better, but my novel obsessed self craved more in some of the works. I wanted the irregularities to continue for hundreds of pages and dig deeper into the imaginative ideas presented. But that is also the genius of the short format...leaving the reader to wonder and extend the story through his or her own imagination.

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