The Pequod Review:
Ficciones collects Jorge Luis Borges’s short stories from primarily 1940-44, an astonishingly productive period during which he wrote most of his very best fiction. Borges’s stories are short, but feature surreal and playful narratives that cover a variety of themes: politics, doubt, identity (Borges regularly wondered if he really existed; “I do not know who has written this page”), religion, and epistemology. His stories also include reviews of fictional books.
There are few authors whose work lends itself to such nuanced and complex readings. Borges's stories are not just entertaining narratives, but are self-contained logic puzzles that explore the relationship of fiction versus non-fiction, dreams versus reality, and reader versus author. And even the narratives themselves invite multiple — and contradictory — interpretations. They blur genre lines, and often involve a mix of science fiction, mystery/detective fiction, theology, and metaphysics. (Later in life, he would say that “metaphysics is a branch of fantastic literature.”) While his prose is dense and often highly challenging, these stories very much reward a close reading.