Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges. Translated by Emece Editores, S.A. Narrated by Joseph Voelbel.
This recording contains the occasional sound of the passing of automobiles. I like to imagine that they are a bustling city, just outside Borges’ apartment window, on a temperate afternoon, while he narrates his most recently completed work to a group of a like-minded bibliophiles in some mid 20th century Buenos Aires, caught in amber.
It appears, or at least according to my limited research it appears, that this is the first narration of Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius in English. I did find versions in French and Spanish.
I must confess, due to the author’s scrupulous preservation of detail, that in the ante-penultimate (third to las†) paragraph of the story, I pronounced the homonym ‘minute’ as if it were in reference to time, when in fact in was meant to be pronounced in relation to size. A simple yet ghastly oversight.
Lastly, I might add, somewhat poetically, in the spirit of the last paragraph before the postscript (which was intended to be anachronistic, set seven years into the then future), which went: “Things become duplicated in Tlön; they also tend to become effaced and lose their details when they are forgotten. A classic example is the doorway which survived so long as it was visited by a beggar and disappeared at his death. At times some birds, a horse, have saved the ruins of an amphitheater.” Is that by remembering and narrating this story, I hope, in some small way, to preserve the architecture of one of the greatest literary metagrobologists to ever grace a pen.
P.S. This is AUDIO ONLY, so put on your screen savor and sweep your apartment, or doodle, you don’t need to stare at the screen. Plus, a story like this, that goes this long, takes a certain contemplative demeanor. It’s a moment to pause and reflect in life, maybe while doing something tedious, like paying bills or organizing a file cabinet.
*Correction, volumes 56 and 57