Borges. Borges and Joyce*. Borges, Joyce, Pynchon…and Wallace, and Proust, and on… and on… and on. All authors woefully underrepresented on my Read list. With Everything and Nothing
, I’ve made a modest stab at correcting that sorry condition and, in the process, have been dazzled by Borges’ short stories and essays. His scholarship is humbling; his stories provoke wonder. Each incredible in its own way. This slight introduction to the work of Borges includes many of the titles I’ve most often seen cited: Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote
; Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius; The Lottery in Babylon; and, The Garden of Forking Paths—perhaps, the only other equally frequently cited story title is The Aleph, which isn’t part of this collection. The bonus, then, with this collection is the wonderous essays on Kafka, nightmares, blindness, and other topics—essays which tread that fine line between fiction and non-fiction in the manner adopted by Eliot Weinberger, among others. Incredbile. Daunting. Stellar.
*In a Borgesian footnote, maybe not Joyce, maybe not after reading the brief biography-ette in Written Lives which suggests all-too-emphatically that Joyce was full of shit—literally—full of shit, an insight which has pushed him much lower on my To Read list. I’m all for perversions. But many—like the rodeo, NASCAR, and Republican National Conventions—can, at best, only be regarded as somebody else’s party. What makes this footnote Borgesian—why mention of the infinite, fate, literature, art [see? There’s the mention of those themes right there—all topics Borges approaches, expands on, informs, regardless of whether included in stories or essays]