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Longer Reads: Iniquity and Crimes

November 11, 2009

I read Jorge Luis Borges’ collection of stories “A Universal History of Iniquity” earlier this week and I would highly recommend to those who enjoy history or foreign cultures and enjoy a good read. Let me say that differently: it’s really good and, in the most simple of ways, highly entertaining Each story is the biography of a historical sinner – some more real than others – which Borges retells and refashions with wonderful language and an acute sense of what makes a story tick. My favorite involved a royal Japanese etiquette teacher and a long-plotted revenge. I’ve since ventured a bit further into his Collected Fictions and can’t say yet whether I’d recommend what follows it.

In 2666, I’ve reached the fourth book, titled “The Part About the Crimes.” The crimes of the title are the inexplicable and mostly unsolved murders of an ever-rising number of girls and young women in the fictional Mexican border town of Santa Teresa. It is somewhat gruesome and repetitive but Bolaño’s incredibly rich tangents keep it interesting while the desire to figure out who’s behind the killings keeps the page turning.

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