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68 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 2002
For Borges, the core of reality lay in books; reading books, writing books, talking about books. In a visceral way, he was conscious of continuing a dialogue begun thousands of years before and which he believed would never end. Books restored the past. “In time,” he said to me, “every poem becomes an elegy.”
His language (and the style in which he wrote that language) came largely from reading, and from translating into Spanish authors such as Chesterton and Schwob. Partly it came from everyday conversation, from the civilised habit of sitting at a cafe table or over dinner with friends and discussing the great eternal questions with humour and ingenuity. He had a gift for paradox, the quiet and illuminating turn of phrase, for elegant nonsense such as this admonition to his nephew aged five or six: “If you behave, I’ll give you permission to think of a bear.”
There are writers who attempt to put the world in a book. There are others, rarer, for whom the world is a book, a book that they attempt to read for themselves and for others. Borges was one of these writers. He believed, against all odds, that our moral duty was to be happy, and he believed that happiness could be found in books, even though he was unable to explain exactly why this was so. “I don’t know exactly why I believe that a book bring us the possibility of happiness,” he said. “But I am truly grateful for that modest miracle.” He trusted the written word in all its fragility, and through his example he granted us, his readers, access to that infinite library which others call the Universe.
خواننده ی ایده آل به چشم مانگوئل خواننده ای است که " خود را صاحب ملیت مشخص نمیداند، دغدغه ی ژانر ندارد، خود را یکی از کاراکترهای اصلی رمان می داند، ظرفیت نامحدودی برای فراموش کردن دارد، با خواندن کتابی از قرون پیشین احساس جاودانگی می کند... و به محض آنکه خواندن کتابی را به اتمام می رساند احساس میکند اگر آن را نخوانده بود، جهان چه تهیدست تر و چه بینواتر می بود"