I first learnt about Jorge Luis Borges from Chandrahas Choudhry at Middle Stage. I read his essay on Shakespeare linked in that post and was bowled over.
I borrowed Ficciones, English Translation of his stories from British Council Library yesterday. I just read the first two stories and am already in a trance. Especially the story The Approach to Al Mu'tasim. It is difficult to classify Borges short stories. Al Mu'tasim is Borges notes on the imaginary novel Al Mu'tasim written by an imaginary author Mir Bahadur Ali. The imaginary novel is set in Bombay, where the protagonist commits a muder during a communal riot. Then he feels remorse about the killing and travels across India in search of the perfect being Al Mu'tasim. Borges writes about the novel, the metaphysical questions it asks, the author's use of allegory, and also comments on earlier works that are similar to this novel. It is so real with footnotes and all, that you think it is a true book review. It is a book review, but there is no book. The book is imagined by Borges. And all this in a couple of pages.
As Borges said in his foreword to a collection of his stories, "It is a laborious madness and an impoverishing one, the madness of composing vast books � setting out in five hundred pages an idea that can be perfectly related orally in five minutes. The better way to go about it is to pretend that those books already exist, and offer a summary, a commentary on them". You might not agree with it, but do read The Approach to Al Mu'tasim, it is a pleasure.