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Under The Jaguar Sun

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  1,740 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
Alternate cover edition here.

In these three witty and fantastical stories, Italo Calvino explores the sensory aptitudes of the body in taste, hearing and smell.'Each story continues Calvino's lifelong campaign to add more territory to the empire of the imagination; each discloses marvels in regions that we presumed exhausted' Time'In all three stories, intellectual keennes
Published March 18th 1993 by Vintage Classics (first published 1986)
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Jean-Paul Werner Walshaw-Sauter


Calvino was fascinated by the idea of being able to write stories about the five senses in such a way that the whole spectrum of the senses’ possibilities would unfold before the reader’s eyes. Unfortunately he was unable to carry this artistic concept to completion, but luckily for us, he finished three of the planned five stories shortly before his death: “Der Name, die Nase”, “Unter der Jaguar-Sonne” and “Ein König horcht”

SMELL: Der Name, die Nase:


„Für jede Haut einer Frau gibt es ein Parfum
Kamrani Adnan
Dec 11, 2016 Kamrani Adnan is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
امروز که از کتابفروشی برگشتم، این کتاب رو به همراه کوری خریدم. کتابی که از کتابفروشی بازش کردم و داستان "بازی" روبهروم به رقص اومد! فوق العاده بود و و نمایشگر وضعیت جامعه...
درکل قلمش رو دوست دارم، شبیه خودم مینویسه!
بیصبرانه منتظرم چنین گفت زرتشت رو تمام کنم و به دنیای این دو وارد بشم. :)
Ned Rifle
Dec 09, 2012 Ned Rifle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before reading any Calvino I had noted with dismay that none of his novels ever really get much beyond the 200 page mark, how foolish I was to worry. From what I have read stories of any size can satiate and I am now happy for their warm abundance. These are three stories about three senses - do not listen to the quibbles about how the two other senses were to have stories and that it would all be housed in an elaborate frame story, these are illusion, they never existed. These stories do, and ...more
Nov 07, 2007 Mahrya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Normally, I hate the word "sensual" because it reminds me of essential oils and the phrase "taking a lover," and lying about on the divan whilst eating succulent grapes dripping with the juices of summer, but this collection contains essays about the senses, so I think the word actually applies in this case. If I'm remembering correctly, this is Calvino's last book. He was going to write five essays for five senses, but he died before he got there. The essay on taste is my favorite. It's about s ...more
کتابفروشی که میرم همینطوری بیرون نمیام کلی با کتابفروش تبادل نظر میکنم... کلی کتاب بهم معرفی می کنن اما من همون موقع کتاب رو نمیخرم باید یه اجماعی دست بده به این صورت که کتاب به تواتر بهم معرفی بشه... این کتاب هم همینطور بود خیلی بهم معرفی شد از طرف کتابفروش ها و من بالاخره راضی شدم بخرمش و تا نیمه اول کتاب از خریدش بسیار راضی بودم.
این کتاب مجموعه داستانه خوندنه اون نیمه اول به نخوندنش می ارزه.
Jul 30, 2016 Ophelia.Desdemona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The story A King Listens was mind-blowing.
Inderjit Sanghera
Under the Jaguar Sun is Calvino’s exploration of our senses; sensuous and salacious, Calvino is able to render even the most mundane of smells into something magical, our tongue and mouth become receptacles to the most titillating of flavours and the silver cadence of a woman’s voice is transformed into a symbol of love.
The set of stories starts with Under the Jaguar Sun, a story about a somewhat disaffected couple and their holiday to Mexico. The couple gradually become fascinated with a canni
Aug 31, 2013 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classici
Tre racconti che coinvolgono i sensi; nell’intento dello scrittore avrebbero dovuto essere cinque, ma la morte glielo ha impedito. Comunque i cinque sensi sono coinvolti ugualmente nella lettura, i due mancanti nei racconti, la vista e il tatto, li mettiamo in opera noi lettori mentre leggiamo il libro.
Il mio preferito è stato il secondo, che dà il titolo all’opera, “Sotto il sole giaguaro”, il cui protagonista è il gusto. Siamo in Messico, con la sua cucina ricca di sapori forti e contrastanti,
Nov 25, 2009 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rather shamefully, this the first time I've read Calvino (I have some of his other books on the shelf), but being a short story afficionado it seemed a good place to start. Three seperate stories (in both subject matter and style), the link here are the senses: taste, hearing, and smell. Apparantly there were to form a larger work containing the remaining senses, plus a possible overstory, however these can be enjoyed in their own right. Calvino died before it was completed.

"Under The Jaguar Sun
Apr 17, 2014 Bbrown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-work
In three stories dealing with the senses of taste, hearing, and smell, Calvino once again demonstrates his ability to use a seemingly simple jumping off point to explore more interesting topics, like the nature of relationships, the pointlessness of power, and the way desire connects to loss.

The first story, the one that gives this collection its name, is the best of the three. Concerning itself with taste, Under the Jaguar Sun does a great job evoking the lush atmosphere of Oaxaca and the surro
Serge Pierro
Oct 20, 2014 Serge Pierro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, italy
Seeing as this is my first exposure to the artistry of Italo Calvino, I must say, I'm impressed. Originally this work was to be of all five senses, but he had died before completing it, thus only taste, hearing, and smell are featured.

Each of the stories were very interesting in their own way.

The first one, "Under the Jaguar Sun" was dripping with sensual undertones and vivid forays into spicy Mexican food and chile peppers… that is, before it ventured into the realm of … well, you'll have to
Dec 31, 2012 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Master storyteller Italo Calvino set out to write a book about the five senses but died before completing that project. He did, however, complete the three stories that comprise this collection. Set in Mexico, and following the culinary adventures of a couple on holiday, “Under the Jaguar Sun” is about the sense of taste and how taste comes to define the couple’s relationship. “A King Listens,” perhaps the most fully developed of the stories (and certainly the most memorable), explores the conse ...more
An unfinished anthology about the five senses. And just my luck, the two of the three senses included are senses that I either lack or sense differently from everyone else. While I still enjoyed the stories, it's just kind of difficult to appreciate a story that's all about the sense of smell when I have no idea what a flower smells like - or the garbage pail for that matter.

I don't think it's coincidence that the story I liked best was the middle one which focused on hearing. I really enjoyed t
vi macdonald
I can see and appreciate what Calvino was trying to do here, and it's definitely a shame he was unable to finish the series before his death, but I can't really say that this book works quite as well as I would've liked. Definitely good, and I'll definitely be on the lookout for more Calvino in future, but not anything amazing.
Feb 03, 2015 Amin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-storie, fiction
اونقدرا نپسندیدم. از بین بیست داستانش : همبستگی، سرهنگ در کتابخانه، گوسفند سیاه،گرفتار سکون در انتی لس و بازی خیلی خوب بود بقیه معمولی رو به پایین بود به نظرم.
یه قسمت هایی از شاه گوش میکند هم خوب بود.
ایده داستان ٬بازی٬ رو خیلی پسندیدم.
Alice Lippart
This book contains fascinating and disturbing, captivating and vivid portrait of three of the senses.
CM Yeung
Feb 05, 2017 CM Yeung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 stories here. Each story is closely related to one of the five senses. Calvino's description of all these senses is refined but not as charming as how he interweaves these senses into the narratives.

a)Under the Jaguar Sun----*****
This is a story of taste and meals. A man travels with his female partner, Olivia, in Mexico and this man connects their trip,especially their meals and the myth of human sacrifice of the Aztec(an obsession of Olivia), to the power dynamics of their relationship.

Jun 15, 2009 Rhys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the finest Calvino book by any means. That's because it's a slight piece of art in the sense that it's an unfinished project... But in her Afterword, Esther Calvino asks for readers to regard this book not in that manner but rather as three standalone (though connected) short stories. That's exactly how they would be read if they were included with other stories in a larger collection (maybe they should have been part of the *Numbers in the Dark* collection?)

The truth is that the very act of
May 26, 2013 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I would refer to my reading experience of this collection of short stories as enjoyable, but it was interesting and unsettling. 'Under the Jaguar Sun' is a collection of three stories, each of which focuses on a different 'sense'. This is an unfinished project as Calvino sadly passed away before its completion.

I found the first tale, the one from which the collection's name is derived, was my favourite. This opening story deals with taste and it's ability to drive hunger for foo
Bryan Serwatka
This is a compilation (or so it seemed) of three short stories Calvino wrote in his final years. I hadn't ever read anything of Calvino's and only really picked the book off the shelf because of the title and shocking description. I found his (translated) style rather flowery and almost painfully educated to the point of being simultaneously impressed by the vocabulary and depressed by my own.

I found the first story, Under the Jaguar Sun, completely enthralling, but I couldn't decide if I was so
Meghan Fidler
Apr 20, 2013 Meghan Fidler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Under the Jaguar Sun" contains three short stories, the first of which was released in the New Yorker in 1983.
In this collection Italo Calvino again produces a mind boggling array of diverse narratives. By relying on different senses as placeholder each short is a breathtaking journey into different worlds as experienced through the body. 'Under the Jaguar Sun' focuses on taste, 'A King Listens' on hearing, and 'The Name, The Nose' on smell.
The sensescape Calvino produced in me favored taste,
M. Mastromatteo

This was my first reading of Calvino -- an author that my trusted friends have raved about. And I get it. He writes beautifully. I wish the library had this book in Italian. I think I might have enjoyed it more.

Alas, the main problem was the lack of a story (in the first two). It came across as a creative writing exercise. It was a never-ending description, which of course, becomes extremely aggravating. It was like someone was describing a painting. I saw the whole painting and it was
Patrick McCoy
Mar 25, 2014 Patrick McCoy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have been a fan of Italo Calvino since college when I read the fascinating If On A Winter's Night A Traveler, so when I read in the Mexico Lonely Planet that he had written a story that was an ode to Mexican food I knew I would have to read Under The Jaguar Sun (1986). This collection of three stories was meant to be a larger collection of stories about the five senses, however Calvino died before the completion of the series. The first story, "Under the Jaguar Sun," delivered and then some wi ...more
Feb 20, 2014 Karl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are three stories in this book. Two are excellent and one is less so.

The stories deal with three of the senses. Taste Hearing Smell.
The stories deal with three emotions, Love Paranoia Lust.
All of them include death.

Story 1 - Under the Jaguar Sun or Taste/Love - concerns a couple on a holiday to Mexico and explores sensuous Mexican cuisine. Have you ever wondered why the food there contains so many varied hot peppers ?? This
story may answer that question.

Story 2 - A King Listens or He
Feb 24, 2016 Roisin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started in 1972 by Calvino with the intention of writing a book based on the five senses. By the time of his death he had completed the three stories that feature. The title story features a couple and their quest across Mexico seeking out what food was used in sacrificial ritual ceremonies. The second focuses on a King and the sounds from within his palace. Can he hear his enemies? The last focuses on the scents of several women and their admirers obsession with this. These are strange, passion ...more
Daniel Simmons
This collection of three short stories about the senses (five total were intended, but the author died before he could get around to the final two) was an artful and thought-provoking read. The middle story, about a paranoid king sitting enthroned and mostly immobile in his audience hall while trying to interpret the manifold sounds all around him (are they murmurs of appreciation or whispers of dissent?), was the best, although I also loved the pungency of the language in the final story, about ...more
Nate D
In typical Calvino-form, each of these three stories is entirely involved in the wealth of detail, characterization, and storytelling that can be drawn from a single sense (taste, hearing, smell, no boring old sight). This was one of his last (and unfinished) projects before his death in the 80s, but it is the oldest story here, "The Name, the Nose", written in 1972, that most thoroughly captivated me. This was entirely rewarding throughout, though, even if I prefer his more involved storytellin ...more
Adam Calhoun
Apr 17, 2010 Adam Calhoun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally intended as a collection of stories each emphasizing one sense (smell, sound, etc.), Calvino died before he could finish them. He probably didn't even fully finish editing them. The title story (Under The Jaguar Sun, taste) is a little banal, though of course the writing is great. This short collection of stories is worth reading, though, for the story about sound. Never have I read anything that gives such a great feel for hearing through the written word.
Aug 23, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lo amo, l'ho sempre amato e sempre lo amerò.
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Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. He was a journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952-1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If On a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979).

His style is not easily classified; much of his writing has an air of the fantastic
More about Italo Calvino...

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“When the olfactory alphabet, which made them so many words in a precious lexicon, is forgotten, perfumes will be left speechless, inarticulate, illegible.” 6 likes
“I was living and dying in all the fibers of what is chewed and digested and in all the fibers that absorb the sun, consuming and digesting. Under the thatched arbor of a restaurant on a river-bank, where Olivia had waited for me, our teeth began to move slowly, with equal rhythm, and our eyes stared into each other's with the intensity of serpents'—serpents concentrated in the ecstasy of swallowing each other in turn, as we were aware, in our turn, of being swallowed by the serpent that digests us all, assimilated ceaselessly in the process of ingestion and digestion, in the universal cannibalism that leaves its imprint on every amorous relationship and erases the lines between our bodies and sopa de frijoles, huachinango a la vera cru-zana, and enchiladas.” 5 likes
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