November 3rd, 2008

The Aleph

Borges is chiefly valued for his earliest stories, but I find the later ones- collected in the Aleph- much more satisfactory. The excellent ideas came early; artistic control was more slowly achieved. The Aleph is a beautiful book, a meditation on the themes of time and identity, story echoing story through the shuffling and dealing out of a wicked pack of images- labyrinths, doubles, tigers.  The early stories are clever, ingenious, mind-stretching, the later stories melancholy and profound.