In this elusive short story, the central character is a collaborator with the German army during World War I. Trapped in English territory, his is given the mission to report the location of the English army to the Germans immediately. After taking several minutes to concoct a plan, the narrator consults the phone book, takes his revolver (with one bullet) and leaves his dwelling.
Carefully avoiding capture, the narrator navigates a physical labyrinth and eventually arrives at his destination of Dr. Stephen Albert. Albert tells him about the works of the narrator’s father with which he has been entrusted: The Garden of Forking Paths; an infinite and inescapable labyrinth. Though the narrator had already searched the earth for the mystery of this maze, Dr. Albert reveals that the maze itself is an infinite book; a book in which every possible choice is taken simultaneously by the main character (a choose your own adventure of sorts, with every possible choice available, and no page numbers.) Albert explains that the novel is in fact infinite, although incomplete, since it represents the entire universe… the book’s contents reveal one a few of the infinitely possible outcomes of one man’s life.
Without further ado, the narrator murders Dr. Albert, thus completing his mission. The nest day when the story of the murder appears in the paper, the Germans know exactly where to attack thanks to the clue provided by the narrator: the city of Albert.
Other Stories With Theme of Infinite Interpretation
Averroes' Search (Summary)
The God's Script (Summary)
The Immortal (Summary)
The Library Of Babel (Full Text)
The Library Of Babel (Summary)
The Theologians (Summary)
Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (Summary)
Criticism With Reference to this Story
Jonathan Meades The Quest for Borges
Carlos Navarro The Endlessness in Borges’ Fiction