The Book of Sand by Borges provides the ground for a variety of interpretations. Namely, the author does not state his ideas or opinions explicitly in his story, therefore, the latent messages that are embedded in the story can be decoded in a number of different ways. One of the possible interpretations of The Book of Sand is that infinity is something that is difficult for a human brain to fully understand, therefore, it is better to restrain from this struggle. Infinity always means autonomy because infinity is impossible to control. Human brain, however, always has the desire to understand something in order to be able to control it.
The main character of The Book of Sand faced the problem of the book being autonomous and impossible to ‘tame’. Specifically, the man in the story cannot get to the beginning or the end of the book, neither is it possible to see the same page or the same illustration twice. As a result, it is impossible for a human brain to understand the book and establish control over it with this understanding. The same is true for the phenomenon of infinity. Infinity is hard to understand in a world where everything has a beginning and an ending, where everything is given birth and dies. Therefore, according to Borges, it is a good idea to restrain from the struggle to understand infinity. Just like the main character did it with the book, it is better to lay this idea aside because this struggle can be obsessive and is not likely to lead to any tangible positive outcomes.
Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities and The Book of Sand are similar in the way they portray autonomy, but also different in the way they touch the topic of infinity. Just like the Book of Sand, the cities described by Italo Calvino are autonomous. They are out of the control of time and they contradict the most important premises of logic. They exist beyond once control because they do not exist at all; they are the transcendent products of one’s imagination where everything is possible. However, while Borges describes the book of sand as an infinite book that is not dependent on the rules of mathematics or time, at least the human understanding of them, the topic of time and change pervades Invisible Cities. This is partly enforced by the fact that Kublan Khan understands that his end is approaching. It is safe to argue that the invisible cities will die together with Kublan Khan’s death because they are the products of imagination and his fantasy. Thus, because of this approach of the author to the topic of time, the cities present a paradox because they are both autonomous and dependent on Kublan Khan. Specifically, they are autonomous only as long as his mind still produces them.
Summarizing everything stated above, there is no correct interpretation of Borges The Book of Sand because the author in the story gives the audience many messages that can be decoded differently. One of the topics that the author touches in the story is, however, the discussion of autonomy and human potential in terms of controlling infinity. The book of sand is autonomous just like the cities discussed by Italo Calvino. However, Italo Calvino sees time as an exhaustive resource. The topics of change and death are apparent in his story, which brings the audience to the idea that the cities, regardless of being out of the control of logic and norms, will die together with the death of the mind that produces them.