Author Dilys Rose recommends…

(CLASSIC: from Ficciones, (or Fictions), Penguin Modern Classics)

I’ve loved this story for a long time. For such a short piece of work it gives a sense of a vastness, both of Borges’ vast learning but also the sense of a vast, vibrant world full of countless details, which can’t be caught and contained, or if they can, there is a price to pay. Borges writes about ideas, games, puzzles but unlike so many who get caught up in intellectual play, there’s warmth , affection, and an undercurrent of emotion too. Funes has a gift but it’s a painful, ultimately unbearable gift.

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(MODERN: first published in The Massachusetts Review) I thought I’d contrast the more serious Borges story with one of the funniest , cheekiest stories I can think of. It made me laugh until I cried when I first read it and there are not many stories that do that to me. It mercilessly satirises national traits in a similar way to Jim Jarmusch’s movie, Night on Earth. It’s a story about stud bulls. That’s all you need to know..

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