to have sought in vain the marble gaze of the statues,
to have questioned lithographs, encyclopedias, atlases,
to have seen the things that men see,
death, the sluggish dawn, the plains,
and the delicate stars,"
-- from Borges, Elegy (p 251)
Borges' Labyrinths can be compared to a many-sided object which changes depending on the side at which you are looking, the direction of light, the time of day, and on and on ad infinitum. . .
Each story, essay or parable has so many references and nuances of thought and layers of meaning that it is difficult for the reader to digest the wealth of ideas present in each artifice. This is what makes the book a complex read but a joy as the stories unfold and spark new thoughts in the reader's mind. Some of the topics touched upon include: the nature of writing and reading; idealism versus realism; the infinity of reality - or is it a dream? Borges questions the nature of time much as did Augustine ("What then is time?"), while he challenges identity and asks if we can be categorized as Aristotelians or Platonists, or at all.
He challenges the reader with labyrinths and mirrors, with doppelgangers and ghosts, with the warp and woof of realities imagined in the fecundity of Borges thought. The book is difficult to read but worth the effort as all great books are. I enjoyed the journey, but found the richness of each artifice warrants limiting time spent reading the book in order to savor the depth a breadth of the text. I found the parable "Borges and I" a particular joy.
Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings by Jorge Luis Borges. New Directions, New York. 1964