A PERSONAL ANTHOLOGY. Written and edited by Jorge Luis Borges. Published by Picador at 45p.
There is no writer who amazes, baffles and intrigues me more than Borges – Argentina’s leading man of letters.
This is the selection of work on which he’d like his reputation to rest. I don’t think it’s his best work. But at least most of it hasn’t been printed in this country before – Penguin’s ‘Labyrinths’ selection draws heavily from the ‘Ficciones’ anthology.
Borges is a writer whose pure logic takes him and your thoughts along straight lines over the edge of the world and back to where you started. If you have grown out of Cosmo’s novelettes and like to think now and again, Borges is your man. This is a good selection of his lunatic-mathematical stories. It’s a pity I can’t like his poetry.
Law Triumphs, Justice Doesn’t
The Magician by Sol Stein. Published by New English Library. Paperback, 40p.
One of the most upsetting and at the same time most outstanding novels I have read recently is ‘The Magician’ by Sol Stein. The point of the book is to show that the law doesn’t necessarily equal justice, in fact the two can quite often be used for different ends.
Briefly, the plot is about a vicious assault on a sixteen year old schoolboy and the legal consequences. Much of the story is concerned with the ensuing court case or else in studying the characters of those principally involved — the culprit responsible for the seemingly pointless attack, the parents of the victim and the aggressor, and Ed Japhet, the schoolboy. The novel also comments on the state of American society – not the seamy, junk-neon, spectacular country that is usually over-glamourised, but middle America with its institutions and on-the-surface respectability and tranquility, hiding its inner turmoil.
Sol Stein’s style is both convincing and literate, without ever becoming boring. And the final twist is startling, although not altogether unexpected. A feature film is soon to be made of ‘The Magician’ and if the script is sensibly handled, and without the essence of the story being lost, it should prove to be a major event in cinema.
‘The Magician’ is an important book that has something significant to say. At the same time it is a very captivating book.
A Bold Study of Abnormal Sex: World Famous Best Seller
They Live In The Shadows
‘Syphilis’ is no longer a shocking, or even an impolite word. Everywhere, people talk about venereal disease as unfortunate, but natural… and curable.
We’re more broad minded today but not about every thing. Two things – HOMOSEXUALITY AND PROSTITUTION – are still considered by the majority of the population as the lowermost depths of depravity, or subjects for bawdy humour.
As it happens, homosexuals and prostitutes are real people – with very real problems.
Here, for the first time, is a book about what they are like, and what their problems are.
From the blurb, you’d expect the book to be at least controversial. Find out for yourselves. It’s presently being remaindered at only lOp, at several book shops in London, anyway. And you’d hardly guess it was the dear old Wolfenden Report. Dressed in sheep’s clothing?
Bona Bargain Basement