Title: Borges and the Eternal Orangutans
Author: Luis Fernando Verissimo
Published: 2000 New Directions Books
Source: Public Library
Synopsis from back of book:
"Vogelstein is a loner who has always lived among books. Suddenly, fate grabs hold of his insignificant life and carries him off to Buenos Aires, to a conference on Edgar Allan Poe, the inventor of the modern detective story. There Vogelstein meets his idol, Jorge Luis Borges, and for reasons that a mere passion for literature cannot explain, he finds himself at the center of a murder investigation that involves arcane demons, the mysteries of the Kabbala, the possible destruction of the world, and the Elizabethan magus John Dee's 'Eternal Orangutan,' which, given all the time in the world, would end up writing all the known books in the cosmos. Verissimo's small masterpiece is a literary tour de force and a brilliant mystery novel rolled into one."
This is now one of my favorites. Verissimo does such an amazing job with his characters' traits, I had a clear picture in my imagination of their temperament and body language tendencies to the extent that I felt like I knew Vogelstein, Rotkopf, Cuervo, and Borges personally. The story was very clever and entertaining (especially such subtly important components as Aleph the cat and the Japanese man who got knocked over twice). I was inspired to read two works by Edgar Allan Poe, The Gold-bug and The Murders in the Rue Morgue; both of these short stories are alluded to throughout. I enjoyed this whole experience so much that I will be offering Borges and the Eternal Orangutans together with Edgar Allan Poe Complete Tales & Poems in my upcoming "Leap Into Books" giveaway .