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Borges And Me
In this evocative work of what the author in his Afterword calls ‘autofiction’ or ‘a kind of novelised memoir’, Jay Parini takes us back fifty years, when he fled the United States for Scotland. He was in frantic flight from the Vietnam War and desperately in search of his adult life. There, through unlikely circumstances, he met famed Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges.
Borges was in his seventies, blind and frail. Parini was asked to look after him while his translator was unexpectedly called away. When Borges heard that Parini owned a 1957 Morris Minor, he declared a long-held wish to visit the Scottish Highlands, where he hoped to meet a man in Inverness who was interested in Anglo-Saxon riddles. As they travelled, the charmingly garrulous Borges took Parini on a grand tour of western literature and ideas while promising to teach him about love and poetry. As Borges’s world of labyrinths, mirrors and doubles shimmered into being, their escapades took a surreal turn.
‘This is a jewel of a book. Very funny, clever, moving, luminous with love of literature and landscape. Parini’s portrait of both Borges and Scotland is exquisite, deeply affectionate, sometimes comically irritable...’
About Jay Parini
Jay Parini is Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College, Vermont. In addition to New and Collected Poems: 1975–2015, he has published eight novels including The Last Station and Benjamin’s Crossing. He has written biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, William Faulkner and Gore Vidal. He edited The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature and writes regularly for the Guardian and other publications.
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