Seldom do two exceptional kindred spirits find each other by chance, but this is true of one of the singular literary figures of the twentieth century, Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986), and his second wife, María Kodama. They met by accident in 1953 in a bookstore in Buenos Aires; she was in high school, he was already an established writer, and he was losing his eyesight. Both infinitely curious and adventurous spirits, they shared a deep interest for many different cultures. Beginning in 1973, Borges and María traveled extensively, and she became his eyes.
The library was one of Borges’s favorite literary images, often repeated in his stories, and in 1955 he was appointed director of the National Library in Buenos Aires. Borges expertly blended the formats of essay, poem and short story, blurring the boundaries between reality and fiction. Using symbols including labyrinths, mirrors and chess, his language is clear, his style almost laconic. His love of riddles and paradox provide a sense of magic, giving birth to a new literary genre. Throughout his life, Borges never stopped searching, learning, reading and writing. “The work of a poet never ends. You are continuously receiving things from the external world… and a revelation can come at any time.”
Diagnosed with cancer in 1984, Borges decided to keep his condition secret; he and María left Argentina for Geneva to spend his final days. As Borges was losing his eyesight, María became his guide and support as well as his companion, and when he passed, he named Kodama his sole heir and literary custodian, to preserve his legacy. Featuring rarely seen photographs, this volume, produced in collaboration with Fundación Internacional Jorge Luis Borges in Buenos Aires, elucidates one of the great love stories of our time, intertwined with Borges’s compelling poems and manuscripts, allowing readers to discover the celebrated Argentine writer’s intriguing oeuvre.