#CBR7 Review #82: Labyrinths: Selected Stories and Other Writings by Jorge Luis Borges

FINALLY. I am all caught up with my reviews. Whew. I am exhausted, y’all. Reading is one thing, but having to write reviews is quite another. But hey, I have time to get working on the next set of books, right? I am very excited that I have some free time before I begin my next research project, so that means quality time with my library stack. Always a good thing.

Labyrinths is a collection of short stories, essays, and parables by Jorge Luis Borges, and was selected so that I could pick some work to teach in the fall. Borges is known for his distinctive style in short-story writing, his blurring of fantasy, nonfiction, and reality, and his interaction with philosophy and Western texts. By far my favorite of the short stories as “The Garden of the Forking Paths,” which used a labyrinth to make an insightful commentary on the nature of reading and literature in general. Most of the other stories are very, very dense, but most of them make use of the labyrinth to convey confusion, unreality, or an interrogation of literature and understanding as we know it.

Borges is considered a highly influential writer, and I understand how he came by that title. He references a ton of historical or cultural contexts, and he creates something new, as well. While I don’t find him light and enjoyable reading, I do think he is crucial in literary contexts. His essay, “The Argentine Writer and Tradition,” is especially helpful in understanding where his intersections of tradition and innovation come in. If you want to read one thing, then read “The Garden of the Forking Paths.”

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