Good introduction to the world of Borges (4 stars)
I have often heard the following phrase about Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges: “I wanted so much to read, but It’s too hard”. Most likely because of the encyclopedic erudition of his texts and his love for metaphysics, philosophy and mathematic; interests that bleeds into his stories.
And reading short stories where half the paragraphs have footnotes, or references to 500-year-old books in Latin, Greek or Aramaic can be a daunting task. That’s why I think The Book of Imaginary Beings could be a good introductory work.
In the book, Borges creates an informal encyclopedia of fictitious creatures. The usual suspects can by found, like centaurs or dragons, but they are usually addressed with a fresh Borgian perspective. But what I really liked were the truly strange creatures, like a two-headed serpent with one head in each extremity, or the Á Bao A Qu and the Condillac statue.
It’s not a complete creature grimoire by any means, but that is not it’s point. An incredibly imaginative look at imaginary creatures by one of the world’s greatest writers.