Sunday, February 26, 2012

Borges and the Eternal Orangutans


Title:  Borges and the Eternal Orangutans
Author:  Luis Fernando Verissimo
Published:  2000  New Directions Books
Pages:  131
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."

My impressions:
     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 .

                                    


17 comments:

  1. Thanks for visiting my blog Beth, I'm now a new follower of yours :)

    This book sounds wonderfully strange!

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  2. Hi Sam,
    That's a great descriptor for this book..."wonderfully strange!" I, too, was so happy to have found your blog. Here's to finding many fantastic books in the future!

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  3. Edgar Allen Poe is one of my absolute favorites. I love The Gold Bug & The Murders in the Rue Morgue. I will definitely have to pick up Borges & the Eternal Orangutans!

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  4. Or, hopefully if you win, you won't have to go pick it up! :-)
    Thanks for visiting my blog

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  5. wow, orangutan is anative animal from my country :)

    mayafloriay(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  6. Hi Maya,
    That's wonderful...I love the look of Orangutans. Do you live in Borneo? I was under the impression that that was one of, if not the only, place Orangutans were native. I'm thrilled that you visited my blog :-)

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  7. This sounds like a very unusual read. Seeing as how I've never read any of Edgar Allen Poe's works, I'm sure this book will provide the impetus I need to do just that. Thanks for this lovely review:)

    Sarah Bibi Setar

    http://randomthoughtsofaconfusedadolescent.blogspot.com/

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  8. Great to hear you're willing to try a new author. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts if you do end up reading it. Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  9. I'm glad you liked this book - I have a feeling that this book is right up my alley!

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  10. I love different, unpredictable books too.

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  11. I've never read any of this authors books, but think I would enjoy this!

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    1. I hope you do enjoy it, Vikki! Thanks for visiting :-)

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  12. This is my first time hearing of this book. The fact that you described it as clever has me intrigued. I also like that it ties into Poe. Sounds cool! Thanks for sharing!

    ~Jess
    http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/

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    1. Hi Fairday Morrow,
      If you end up reading this book, let me know if you agree with the "clever" description. So glad you stopped by!

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  13. It seems this book had quite an impact on you. I love it when a book does that. I've come away with many books where I was just stunned at the work and grateful I had the privilege to read it.

    Looking forward to reading this book, regardless of whether or not I win it through your giveaway.

    Many thanks,
    Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez
    http://zaraalexis.wordpress.com

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  14. Hi Zara,
    I'm so glad you stopped by. I am very impressed with your blog and am now a follower. Keep up the great thoughts and enthusiasm!
    Beth :-)

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  15. It sounds really good! To read list of course, I will read it if i win it, hah :p

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