The Library as Survival
...Throughout history, the victor's library stands as an emblem of power, repository of the official version, but the version that haunts us is the other, the version in the library of ashes. The victim's library, abandoned or destroyed, keeps on asking, 'How were such acts possible?' My prayer book belongs to that questioning library....
Canadian writer, translator, and editor. Born in Argentina, Manguel spent his youth in Israel, where his father was the Argentine ambassador, and in Buenos Aires, where, as a teenager, he regularly read aloud to the nearly blind writer Jorge Luis Borges. Following the publication of his first major book, The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (1980), Manguel worked as an editor for brief periods in Tahiti, Paris, and rural England before settling in Toronto, where he became a Canadian citizen and wrote his first novel, News from a Foreign Country Came (1992). In 2000 Manguel moved to France, renovating a medieval chapel to house his 30,000-book library. Throughout this peripatetic life Manguel has published a torrent of literary anthologies as well as his own novels, essays about the pleasures of reading, and biographies of writers such as Borges and Rudyard Kipling. See also alberto.manguel.com.