26 June 08 | Chad W. Post

The July issue of Boldtype is now available online and the focus is “Summer Reads.” In addition to a nice review of Sasa Stanisic’s How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, there’s a great write-up by Scott Esposito of Adolfo Bioy Casares’s The Invention of Morel.

What do you do when you’ve read Jorge Luis Borges’ Collected Fictions so many times that you feel a bit like Funes the Memorious? Or when you’ve thoroughly digested the Argentinean master’s Selected Non-Fictions and even bought his poetry volume? For strung-out Borges aficionados, the perfect answer is Adolfo Bioy Casares, Borges’ literary collaborator and close friend. Bioy Casares knew Borges well enough to write a 1,600-page volume on their friendship and, despite a 15-year age gap, was considered an intellectual peer.

The masterpiece among Bioy Casares’ short, intense novels is The Invention of Morel, a book that won raves from Borges (who placed it alongside Franz Kafka’s The Trial), was called “perfect” by Octavio Paz, and inspired one of French cinema’s most infamous movies, Last Year at Marienbad (1961). Though it was first published in 1940, the book’s continuing relevance was recently proven when it was featured on Lost — a cameo many viewers perceive as a key to that TV show’s plot.

I’m not sure how public this is yet, but New York Review Books (also the publisher of The Invention of Morel and Asleep in the Sun) is planning on publishing Bioy Casares’s diary about Borges as translated by the wonderful Esther Allen. This is going to be a major, major book, although it probably won’t be out for years . . .

And I’d like to reiterate that any and all Lost fans out there really should read this book. Not because it reveals any secrets about the show (although there are some eerie similarities), but because anyone who likes Lost will undoubtedly like this book.


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