First published in 1941, "The Garden of Forking Paths" ("El jardin de senderos que se bifurcan") marked a turning point in the literary career of Jorge Luis Borges. In fact, the story helped to establish his reputation as a fiction writer.
His fiction received immediate critical acclaim in Argentina, even though he failed to win an important prize the year of the book's release. Outraged, other Argentinean writers and critics devoted an entire issue of the prominent literary journal, Sur, to Borges and his work.
As in his other stories, Borges uses fiction as a vehicle to explore philosophical and literary issues. Consequently, the characters in his stories seem less developed. In "The Garden of Forking Paths," he uses the genre of the detective story—a genre that requires clue-gathering and puzzle-solving—in order to explore the way time branches into an infinite number of futures.
Widely anthologized,"The Garden of Forking Paths'' continues to generate interest among scholars and students. Its clever plot and sophisticated philosophical exploration of the nature of time inspires much critical commentary.