Borges and me: an encounter
Fifty years ago, Jay Parini fled the United States for Scotland. He was in frantic flight from the Vietnam War and desperately in search of his adult life. There, through unlikely circumstance, he met famed Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges.
Borges was blind, in his seventies and frail. Parini was asked to look after him while his translator was unexpectedly called away to a family emergency. When Borges heard that Parini owned a 1957 Morris Minor, he declared a long-held wish to see the Scottish Highlands and this unlikely couple soon set out. As they travelled, the charmingly garrulous Borges took Parini on a grand tour of western literature and ideas while promising to teach him about love and poetry. As Borges's world of labyrinths, mirrors and doubles shimmered into being, their escapades took a surreal turn.
Borges and Me is a classic road story, but also a magical tour of an era - like our own - in which uncertainties abound, and when - as ever - it's the young and the old who hear voices and dream dreams.