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4.47  ·  Rating Details ·  15 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Alfonso is a gentle yet searching exploration of a Spanish migrant's feelings and experiences in the country Australia used to be more than forty years ago. Felix Calvino infuses the stuff of everyday life with tenderness and magic. He recovers a lost time and sensibility. The past shimmers back to life.

- Venero Armanno
Paperback, 125 pages
Published December 22nd 2013 by Australian Scholarly Publishing
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Jan 24, 2015 James rated it it was amazing
Alfonso is a story of a spiritual struggle within a Spanish immigrant’s soul. As an outsider, Alfonso labors to fit in and embrace his new life in a new world – Australia – only to find himself succumbing to dark undertows of insult, isolation, and estrangement. Though he strives to cope with these dangerous forces, the only language he knows with which to confront them is a pictorial one, the duende-infused images of his boyhood Galician village: shadowy forests of dark pines, village girls wit ...more
Feb 14, 2014 Grady rated it it was amazing
Cultural Heritage and Miscegenation

Félix Calvino knows the immigrant experience as well as anyone writing. His newest novel, ALFONSO, not only substantiates that his book of short stories, A HATFUL OF CHERRIES, suggested the arrival of an important new voice on the literary scene, it also proves that his brief ideas about finding one’s place in a new country can and have been successfully developed into a full fledged novel.
Calvino was born in Galicia and spent his childhood on a farm not unlike
Timothy Bazzett
Feb 26, 2014 Timothy Bazzett rated it it was amazing
Felix Calvino, born in Spain, emigrated to Australia in the sixties where, according to his bio note, he worked for many years in the travel, restaurant and wine industry. He did not attend college until the late 1990s when he studied Spanish and English at the University of Melbourne and began writing. In 2007 he published his first book, a story collection, A HATFUL OF CHERRIES. As of this moment (February 2014) I'm not sure if Felix Calvino's ALFONSO is even available for sale in the United ...more
Nov 06, 2014 Dhanya rated it really liked it
A semi-autobiographical novel by Felix Calvino, is the story of an immigrant who is trying to find his way in a new country. Alfonso is a Spanish immigrant who finds himself attached to his home country’s culture and art. He moves to Australia in search of a job. He manages to grow in this job and buys himself a livable but by no measure a luxury house. The routine gets to his nerves. Alfonso dreams of settling down with a girl and having a family. However, he lets a rare encounter with a ...more
ジェイムズ・n. パウエル
Alfonso es la historia de una lucha espiritual en el alma de un inmigrante español. Como forastero, Alfonso puja por adaptarse y acogerse a una nueva vida en un mundo nuevo, Australia, solo para sucumbir a las oscuras contracorrientes de insultos, aislamiento y distanciamiento. A pesar de sus esfuerzos por hacer frente a esas peligrosas fuerzas, el único idioma que conoce para enfrentarse a ellas es el pictórico, imágenes llenas de duendes de su infancia en su aldea gallega: bosques sombríos y ...more
Jul 08, 2014 Rosannal rated it it was amazing
Calvino's pared back style takes the reader into the life of Alfonso, a newly arrived migrant to Australia in the 1960s. Set in Sydney, it gives a good description of the city at that time and the issues faced by Alfonso and his friends. An engaging read.
Mar 04, 2014 Katherine rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, gentle book - filled with longing and exquisitely phrased.
The pace is slow and the story subtle, both good things in this case.
Calvino captures the loneliness and dislocation of the migrant's experience perfectly.
Cass Moriarty
Nov 27, 2016 Cass Moriarty rated it really liked it
Sometimes a novella is the perfect length - long enough to engage with the characters and to get your teeth into the story; short enough to carry around with you, and to still get that satisfactory feeling of finishing a book! And when the novella is a colourful tale, simply told, full of smells and sounds and visions and ideas and memories and dreams and hopes ... well, so much the better. Felix Calvino's novella Alfonso is all of these things. Alfonso is a Spanish migrant who hopes to master ...more
Jessica Foster
Feb 20, 2015 Jessica Foster rated it it was amazing
Shelves: australian
I met Félix Calvino only yesterday by chance in the library and he was so generous as to give me a copy of his lovely book and sign it. It is always delightful to receive a book, better still when the book in question is so wise and addictive to read.

Calvino’s writing is precise. Nothing is out of place. But it is beautiful. I came back to the library today and sat down and read the whole thing, forgetting lunch. If only I had known who I had really met when I ran into Calvino!

This succinct sto
Melissa Ashley
Mar 16, 2014 Melissa Ashley rated it it was amazing
I have just finished this beautiful book. There is so much wisdom packed into those 117 pages. The closing image of the snake shedding its skin and Alfonso in the house he renovated brought tears to my eyes. Calvino uses clothing and the home as great images for Alfonso transforming into a man. I loved how the author merged the imagery on the final page. Were they ghosts, memories, of Alfonso as a boy with his mother, or was it the light, when you just open your eyes? It all works and flows ...more
Jun 28, 2016 Joanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

I thought the imagery in this book was great. I felt as if I was actually there with Alfonso, living his day-to-day life. I do wish the passage of time had been a little more clear, and sometimes the book mentioned previous events that didn't seem to have actually happened, but overall it was great.
Jen rated it liked it
Oct 20, 2016
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Nov 02, 2014
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Felix Calvino’s short stories are subtle and soulful, of life growing up in the villages of northern Spain under Franco, and in Australia, where the ghosts and habits of the old country have not vanished.

You can find more information at
my website
More about Felix Calvino...

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