THE BOOK OF FANTASY by Jorge Luis; Silvina Ocampo & Adolfo Bioy Casares--Eds. Borges
Kirkus Star

THE BOOK OF FANTASY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

First published in Argentina in 1940, twice revised, and finally appearing in English, this vast compendium--79 entries ranging from short stories to excerpts to few-sentence fragments--is staggering in breadth, and scope. Drawing on sources from the 17th to the 20th centuries, from all over the globe, it offers quality fantasy in every possible guise and treatment, with a large but by no moans disproportionate contingent representing the rich fantasy traditions of South American writing. To touch upon just a few of the gems here. Borges' own brilliant ""Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius""--in which Bioy Casares appears as a character--describes how a bizarre imaginary world created by a secret society subsumes the real world. In J.G. Ballard's masterful ""The Drowned Giant,"" a colossus, washed up on the beach, is typically subjected to all manner of casual indignity. W.W. Jacobs' celebrated ""The Monkey's Paw"" has spawned a thousand inferior variations. Ever fresh are Poe's ""The Cask of Amontillado"" and Wilde's charming fairy tale, ""The Selfish Giant."" The sage Chuang Tzu wonders whether he dreams the butterfly, or whether the butterfly dreams him. There are less familiar jewels from Julio Cortàzar (a mysterious occupation), Don Juan Manuel (a tricky wizard), Rudyard Kipling (a ghost/murder mystery), Leopolito Lugones (a beasts' revolt), and Juan Rudolfo Wilcock (subterranean horrors). Plus: selections from longer works by Olaf Stapledon, Voltaire, Joyce, Lewis Carroll, Kafka, Rabelais, Sir James Frazer, and Petronius. Not to mention. . . Simply a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in the literature of the fantastic.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1988
Publisher: Viking