This is a book you need to focus on to read and fully appreciate. It’s not easy, mostly because they’re not stories, not in the sense we are conditioned to think of them. No real beginnings, middles or ends, more like Borges’ thoughts as he’s sitting at a typewriter and doing writing exercises.
This book in particular didn’t quite work for me for that reason. On a sentence by sentence level, the language and imagery are beautiful but that’s like looking at the scattered pieces of a mosaic and commenting on their attractiveness. Unless they’re put together to make a picture of some sort, something with coherence and fusion, they remain just lovely pieces.
That all said, it’s fascinating to see his influence and how far reaching it is. Anyone who reads this and Murakami and doesn’t see how the one affected the other is missing a fairly important link in the chain.