Alberto Manguel is the author of A History of Reading, an international bestseller chosen as Best Book of the Year by The Times Literary Supplement, and winner of France's Prix Medici. His book Reading Pictures was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction. Manguel was born in Buenos Aires, has lived in Italy, England, and Tahiti, and is now a Canadian citizen.
During the 1960â€™s, Alberto Manguel, then a teenager, worked after school at a bookstore in Buenos Aires. One day, the legendary Jorge Luis Borges, who would come into the store after work, asked the young man if he would mind coming to his apartment to read to him in the evenings.
Borges, a giant of modern literature, had gradually become blind and could no longer read his beloved books. For several years, Manguel spent many evenings reading to the master of fiction he had studied at school. He witnessed the blind Borgesâ€™ extraordinary ability to pick out from the shelf titles he knew he would enjoy simply by running his fingers along the spines of the books.
He discovered Borgesâ€™ fondness for Sherlock Holmes, watched gangster movies starring James Cagney, and sat through West Side Story with him. But even as he visited Borges in his dark, comfortable apartment, reading out loud and talking about books, we glimpse the inner world of a literary legend. Illustrated by rare photos of Borges by Argentinian Sara Facio, this book is a remarkable window into the private life of one of the greatest authors of the twentieth century.
For those who enjoy the written word, and especially for those who enjoy the fantastic writing of Borges, Manguel's book is confirmation of the pleasure that words can bring, whether to one of the greatest readers and writers of the 20th century or to a young man who would become one of Â Canada's most acclaimed writers.
...what ultimately binds Borges and Manguel as subject and author is that they see themselves as readers first and writers second. This is what makes With Borges so uniquely readable.
This is a lovely book. It's an exquisite, tautly written memoir of the last years of one great writer, as told by another.
Manguel dazzling reveals Borges by subtracting from the possible stories about him, allowing Borges to remain the grand puzzle he always was...Manguel's masterful book contains an eerie, lingering power...