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Livraria Lello suggests…

Livraria Lello suggests… "Selected Poems", by Jorge Luís Borges, and "Pão com Fiambre", by Charles Bukowski

Two very different writers have in common their month of birth – August – and the fact that they left an unrivaled mark on the world literature panorama: Jorge Luís Borges and Charles Bukowski. Selected Poems, by Jorge Luís Borges, and Pão com Fiambre [Ham On Rye], by Charles Bukowski, are the suggestions of Livraria Lello booksellers for this month.

We place the two authors side by side in this text and also on the first floor of the World’s Most Beautiful Bookshop. They are part of a section dedicated to writers who represent, with their creative strength and contribution to letters and human thought, the best in world literature, despite having never received a Nobel Prize in Literature. A selection by Livraria Lello, which intends to awaken the discussion around the question “What Makes a Nobel?”.

Selected Poems, Jorge Luís Borges

Jorge Luís Borges created a fantastic, unusual, and transcendent universe through labyrinthine plots and metaphysical mythologies. He tackled themes as deep and philosophical as time, eternity, or infinity. He wrote fiction – he is undoubtedly one of the greatest names in the short story – and essay, with great originality and lucidity. He felt, above all, a poet.

Selected Poems is a bilingual collection, in English and Spanish, which brings together around two hundred poems by the author – including dozens of texts never translated before.

The work reflects the entire literary career of Jorge Luís Borges, from his first volume of verse, Fervor de Buenos Aires (1923), to his last work, Los Conjurados, published in the year before his death (1986). English translations are provided by a notable cast, including Robert Fitzgerald, Stephen Kessler, WS Merwin, Alastair Reid, Mark Strand, Charles Tomlinson, and John Updike.

Pão com Fiambre [Ham On Rye], Charles Bukowski

In one of the interviews that make up the documentary “The Bukowski Tapes” (1987), Bukowski bluntly states: “I don't like people. I just like me. There must be something wrong with this. I don't know what it is, but I won't try to cure it. All I want is to be what I am”. In form and content, this statement is revealing of the author's unmistakable style: raw, violent, direct, without mincing words, and completely true to himself.

In Ham On Rye, widely considered the best of all his novels, Charles Bukowski describes a bitter childhood and youth. He narrates them through the voice of his famous alter-ego, Henry Chinaski, from his first memory at the age of two.

The impressions of his first meeting with other children, the first intuitions about social justice, the first time he is beaten by his father, the first time he masturbates, the first drunkenness, or the first fight, are some of the experiences presented in a narrative that crosses the comic, the tragic and the nostalgic in a brilliant way. Ham On Rye is one of the greatest references in contemporary American literature.

To order these or other works by Jorge Luís Borges and Charles Bukowski, send us an email to