Wednesday, October 29, 2008


New to the world of Italo Calvino, I was taken aback by his direct and colorful style. He begins this literary journey by speaking directly to his readers, and in fact pulling you into the novel by including you and what you are experiencing. He guides you to a comfortable place to open your book then takes you to your discovery of a book. Unfortunately the book is incomplete so you begin to search for the rest of the book, thirsting to know the rest of the story. Another Reader is introduced with the same problem only her journey is driven from a different motivation and the two of you head out, intrigued and perplexed. You think you found it and alas! it is not the same book but quite a different one. What a disappointment!! You scan the pages of this new book, quickly getting caught up only to find it ends without a conclusion-- so beginning another search for yet another book. By the end of the novel, you have wound your way, not through one story but approximately 10 different stories and the conclusion is... Well, I don't want to spoil it.

His style is, hmmm..., you could almost say he doesn't have A Style. Each story is written with a decidedly different flavor that gives the reader the feeling that they have actually had the experience. It's an witful adventure that will keep you turning pages into the wee. Translator William Weaver has skillfully managed the author's intent without diluting the author's lyrical tone. A masterfully written book... difficult to find in bookstores but a real and more than satisfying treasure hunt. If you're looking for a journey of the mind (what with travel prohibitively expensive these days), Calvino will take you down a path that ever winds and always twists and, you hope, never ends.

WARNING: Calvino is one of those "literature" writers whom readers now disdain for pop stuff but his work is far from the rocky shores of the literati that college students have as a "must-read" and is out on the high seas.


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