Borges: Influence and References

Martin Amis

From: Halifax Slasher

My favorite Borges reference is from Martin Amis's The Information, where a bad poet writes something good for once, and it turns out he swiped the lines from one of Borges's prose works.

From: Jose Zelaschi

In the author's note of Einstein's Monsters, Amis cites Borges and Rushdie as influences for his short story "The Immortals." The story, which is quite interesting, reads as if it had been written by a very witty -- I feel tempted to say, tongue-in-cheek -- Borges.

From: James Diedrick

Amis reviewed Borges, though he neglected to include it in The War Against Cliché:

"In the Hot Seat." Review of Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi, by Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy-Casares, translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni. The Observer, 19 July 1981, 28.

Also, there are several references to Borges in other reviews collected in The War Against Cliché --pp. 66, 384, 401, 421.

From: José María Gomez

One story in Other People is about an amnesiac girl. In this work Amis uses lot of ideas, concepts, images even direct quotations from Borges short-story "Funes el memorioso," in which a boy gets the gift of infinite memory after suffering from an accident. In fact, the amnesiac girl is reading Borges' fiction:

"She read Labyrinths, Scruples, America..." (p.104)

"A few of the books... contain all things... like alephs" (p.104)

The postmodern irony is using images from a story about a person with infinite memory to describe the situation of an amnesiac, thus suggesting that both abnormal situations call into question our standard vision about reality.

Additional Information

The Martin Amis Web -- An excellent resource on Amis by James Diedrick, author of Understanding Martin Amis. It includes these Borges-specific sections:

Borges' Genius Praised on the Centennial of his Birth -- Laura Weffer Cifuentes of the Latino On-Line News Network reports on the 14 January 1999 colloquium on Borges at the British Library, featuring Martin Amis and Ian McEwan.

Martin Amis and Ian McEwan discuss Borges -- A streaming video of the Amis-McEwan conversation.

The significance of "The Aleph" in The Information -- From Understanding Martin Amis by James Diedrick.

Selected Works by Martin Amis

Einstein's Monsters
by Martin Amis. Paperback (March 1990)

The Information
by Martin Amis. Paperback (March 1996)

The War Against Cliché
by Martin Amis. Paperback (November 2001)

Return to Borges Influence