Mr Palomar
Italo Calvino
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Mr Palomar

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  2,541 ratings  ·  138 reviews

Mr. Palomar, whose name purposely evokes that of the famous telescope, is a seeker after knowledge, a visionary in a world sublime and ridiculous. Whether contemplating a cheese, a woman’s breasts, or a gorilla’s behavior, he brings us a vision of a world familiar by consensus, fragmented by the burden of individual perception. Translated by William Weaver. A Helen and Kur

Paperback, 118 pages
Published July 11th 1994 by Vintage (first published 1983)
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The thought of a time outside our experience is intolerable.

Had I met someone like Mr. Palomar before reading this book, I’d have easily passed him off as just another middle aged man on the verge of senility with nothing better to do with his time or at the most a mad wannabe scientist who realized about his true calling when it was too late with no one interested about his observations or findings. But trust Mr. Calvino when it comes to make seemingly weak characters strong and one of the mo...more
Nate D
Mar 28, 2014 Nate D rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: observers of internal and external landscapes
Recommended to Nate D by: The unabating stimuli of the surrounding world
Calvino's bittersweet final "novel": a series of reflections on humanity's relationship to the universe, to the world, to itself. Mr. Palomar, named of a telescope is a perfect observer, always alert and alert to his own alertness, seeking a maximum of receptivity to his surroundings, attempting with a modest diligence to make sense of existence. The question of how best to do this is, of course, complicated -- its nuances, broken in so many sub-examples, compose this book. Encyclopedic and rigo...more
Alex Teplitzky
Every time I pick up an Italo Calvino book I am torn between two poles: on one hand, I am initially intensely disinterested: how to get involved in a book that has no overarching plot? But on the other hand, Calvino chooses his words so carefully and wisely that not one sentence seems superfluous. His love of lists for example seems to parallel the mind thinks. And, provided I give him a chance, my mind begins to think that Calvino is some kind of god who has the blue-prints to the human conditi...more
Emily  O
Feb 05, 2012 Emily O rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: European Literary Classics (ENG 202)
I don't usually like blurbs. I find that they often misrepresent the books that they are supposed to be describing. That said, I don't know that there is any better way to describe Mr. Palomar than "a vision of a world familiar by consensus, fragmented by the burden of individual perception. This books isn't plot driven, or even character driven, so much as it is a book of images, thoughts, moods, and ideas. Contemplative and deliberately paced, Mr. Palomar is different from almost anything else...more
MJ Nicholls
I'm not one of your starry-eyed prose-droolers who appreciates beautiful writing on its own terms. I need formal innovation or structural complexity or dazzling dialogue or knee-snapping humour to keep me amused amid the lexical contortionism. This makes Calvino an infuriating bedfellow: his Oulipo-era prose is constructed with tight mathematical rigidity, yet what comes through in this work is the shiny artifice of his prose, the sparkly poetics of the Cosmicomics. Not good.

Well . . . I don't k...more
I'd started reading this book a long time ago but didn't get very far for reasons long since forgotten. Having just re-read the brilliant 'If on a Winter's Night a Traveller', I picked it up again. Being by Calvino, one of my literary heroes, I knew it would never be less than interesting.

The book has no story as such at all, comprising a series of reflections. That rules it out for all of those readers who like their fiction to be plot-driven. And in the hands of another writer, this might be...more
Michael Mejia
I've always loved the idea of Calvino, his books of ideas, the idea of the book in Calvino, though I've not always loved everything of his. This is a great one. I mean, there is a plot in the sense that one's life is a plot, that the evolution of Mr. Palomar's thinking is a plot. Not that plot matters much to me. Palomar is less a character than a sequence of systems of thought, subtle differentiations between them, always leaning toward the balancing of the visible and invisible, the finite and...more
M. Sarki
Feb 10, 2014 M. Sarki rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to M. by: Garima
I wanted to give this book one star as I "did not like it", but out of respect for many admiring readers of it here, give it two stars instead. I am now finished with my subjection of Italo Calvino. He just does not do it for me. Sorry.
Aidan Watson-Morris
it is only after you have come to know the surface of things you can venture to seek what is underneath. but the surface of things is inexhaustible.
Brent Legault
If this were a novel (it isn't), it would have the rare distinction of being entirely characterless. (Which is not to say it is without character. Character it has. In fact, it's a real charmer.)

Many books lack plot (as this one does) but few find themselves without a character to follow around. Calvino, however, despite having named his book after a person (the "main character"), has made a world that is populated by things like giraffes and tortoises and waves and meat and cheese and even sta...more
Sep 28, 2011 Natalie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jenelle, Derick Dupree
Book simmering with that Aristotelian flavor: endearing list-making, whimsical archiving. It can be a bit tedious and indulgent at times, like Calvino is spewing out of his vault just to spew, but I have a habit/fault of being an invested and flattering listener, anyway, so I don't mind. In any case, P.'s system of order stresses me out -- it's so intentionally myopic it is smothering. There's no motion to this book at all, but the language is so so beautiful; it was a real pleasure to luxuriate...more
Raffaella Foresti
Cari alieni,

il nostro viaggio alla scoperta della letteratura postmoderna e delle sue origini, guardando alla nostra Italia, non poteva che passare da Italo Calvino, grande innovatore della narrazione – e non solo – del secondo ‘900.
Tra le molte sue opere qui si tratta, in particolare, di Palomar, pubblicato dalla casa editrice Einaudi nel 1983. Un romanzo che è anche un’esperienza, il viaggio avventuroso di un uomo ossessionato dalla ricerca di una chiave di pensiero, potremmo chiamarla, che gl...more
Mr. Palomar is "a nervous man who lives in a frenzied and congested world...and to defend himself against the general neurasthenia...tries to keep his sensations under control insofar as possible." The book is a series of short pieces that narrate Palomar's attempt to carefully observe his world, to screen out distractions in order to get a clear view of things. He begins by focusing on surfaces, but has trouble getting beyond them: "it's only after you have come to know the surface of things......more
Il signor Palomar vede i fatti minimi della vita quotidiana in una prospettiva cosmica. Scruta con occhio analitico oggetti ed eventi della realtà e li descrive, nel continuo tentativo di avvicinarsi alla saggezza.In questa continua ricerca, volta ad estendere i limiti della conoscenza umana - ricerca che potrebbe apparire frustrante e vana -, Palomar si avventura come un esploratore.La conclusione cui Palomar giunge è che la saggezza è irraggiungibile, ma vale sempre la pena cercare di raggiung...more
A dryly witty and well-crafted story of a man who tries to find order and reason in the chaos of the universe. Calvino makes such a deadening premise shine. Incredibly funny and philosophical in equal measure. Mathematical in structure, despite the uncertainty of Mr. Palomar's thought. A fine collection.
حيــن تجتمع "الفكاهة" مع "الفكر" ،، مزج رائع من الــوان الحياة ،،

لقد أدخلت في نفسي السرور يا بالومار . .
لقد أظهرت لي جوانب خفية من طرق التفكير ،،

اشتريت مرة خفين غير متجانسين كما تكرر الحدث معك
و لكن لم تراودني تلك الأفكار الرائعة المتناثرة
التي لا تتبع تصنيفا محددا
Ας πούμε μεταφάουστ.
Farhan Khalid
Nobody looks at the moon in the afternoon

And this is the moment when it would most require our attention

Since its existence is still in doubt

The moon is the most changeable body in the visible universe

And the most regular in its complicated habits

Who fear it is too beautiful to be true

Perhaps the first rule I must impose on myself is this: Stick to what I see

[Jupiter] Effects of immense atmospheric storms are translated into a calm, orderly pattern

What can be more stable than nothingness

This obs...more
In 27 capitoli, cerchiamo di capire il mondo del signor Palomar.
Il libro è ripartito in tre parti principali: “Le vacanze di Palomar”, “Palomar in città” e “I silenzi di Palomar” ciascuna divisa in tre capitoli, con tre storie per capitolo.

Il libro comincia in spiaggia, dove il signor Palomar osserva le onde e cerca di analizzarle.
Segue l’unico capitolo appena divertente, quando il signor Palomar passa più volte sulla spiaggia in fronte ad una donna con i seni nudi. Il signor Palomar cerca di...more
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Jeffrey Bumiller
I have not read much of Italo Calvino, but what I have read has stuck with me enough to know that he is an incredibly important author.

This is a tiny little book, only 126 pages, but it is completely magnificent. Beautiful meditations on how observation and contemplation of even the smallest of subjects leads to a questioning of the entirety of existence.

Like I said, I'm not expert on the man, but if you are curious about Italo Calvino I would say this is a great place to start.

I recommend th...more
Nelson Zagalo
Um belíssimo trabalho de escrita experimental. Calvino conta-nos a história do sr. Palomar em três distintos modelos de escrita, ao longo de todo o livro. Assim os cerca de 27 pequenos capítulos apresentam-se distribuídos num padrão de 3 por 3, que leva os géneros a cruzarem-se ao longo de todo o livro - o género descritivo, o narrativo, e o ensaistíco.
O sr. Palomar é apenas um cidadão do mundo, como qualquer um de nós. Facilmente nos poderemos identificar com vários dos seus ditos e pensamento...more
A series of vignettes starring a mild tempered writer that are incredibly charming and quiet. I read it through without any knowledge of the tight structure of the book as a whole, and was pleased to see that I had intuited that the episodes were grouped in themes. I hadn't expected the categorical organization to be quite so beautifully complex. There are many brilliantly written pieces that have understated charms that have revealed hidden depths by resurfacing in my memory time and time again...more
Describes a man almost overwhelmed by his attempts not to live an unexamined life - his abstract notions about how to be a better, more fulfilled person tend to suffer from how annoying actual other people are. One of the most engaging chapters is on a visit to a cheese shop - with an undercurrent of commentary on the difficulty of almost unlimited choice in consumer culture, Mr. Palomar nonetheless thinks through a delighted rhapsody of appreciation for natural and agricultural diversity and bo...more
Lazarus P Badpenny Esq
The eponymous Mr Palomar, much like his namesake telescope, trains the lens of his mind's eye directly at the particularities of his Universe whether it be listening to the birds in his garden or buying cheese from his local Fromagerie, visiting the zoo or spending a day at the beach; the complex, semiotic Eco-system (Umberto, that is) in which everything is a sign: a world doubled-up and doubled-over in metaphysical doubt. Reads rather like being inside the head of Barthes on summer break.
A plotless series of reflections on the relationship between the part and the whole, through the eyes of the almost completely abstract and socially anonymous Mr Palomar. It would've been hard to read, except that the chapters were only 3-4 pages long and the book as a whole only 126 pages. So it was over before I really recognized how formless and unreadable it was. Which (take notes) if you're going to write an unreadable book, is the way to do it.
Feb 04, 2014 jim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to jim by: no one
It is always such a pleasure to return to Calvino's beautifully hypnotic introspection. This is such a simple read on the surface, yet I found myself poring over passages multiple times as the layers peeled back to reveal more and more of the world through Mr. Palomar's incredibly observant eyes. Like Marcovaldo before it, Mr. Palomar invites the reader to become submersed in a worldview that most of us have neither the time nor the patience to craft for ourselves. Unlike Marcovaldo, however, th...more
Kaleidoscopic vignettes about the internal musings of the aptly-named "Mr. Palomar", who finds ways to dissect and analyze even the most insignificant encounters into great philosophical struggles. It sometimes felt like Italo Calvino was poking fun at an overly rigid and analytic worldview that, in his eyes, has become more prevalent in modern times. At other times, though, I felt sympathetic for Mr. Palomar's inability to express his thoughts to those around him, and it seemed like Calvino was...more
I believe that the author was a genius; Invisible Cities, Baron in the Trees, and Cosmicomics are three of the most original and delightful books I have ever read. For that reason, I am hesitant to dismiss this particular book because I cannot rule out the fact that I just didn't understand it. However, that possibility notwithstanding, this one just didn't work for me. The elliptical prose was annoying, and the lack of narrative left me distracted. Several of the vignettes (e.g., the infinite l...more
السيد بالومار..
استمتعتُ كثيراً بصحبته.. رجل يفكر بطريقة مغايرة
قد يخيل إليكَ أن هذا الرجل غبي.. يهدر وقتهُ في التفكير
لكنك ما إن تُمعن النظر/ حتى تدرك تماماً بأن تفكيره منطقي..

قرأتً الكتاب إلكترونياً.. ولم أنهيه
ولم تفارقني الإبتسامة أثناء قرائته =D

الكتاب جيد للذين يفكرون خارج الصندوق..
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cal in0 2 21 Dec 30, 2012 01:32AM  
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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
More about Italo Calvino...
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler Invisible Cities The Baron in the Trees Cosmicomics Il cavaliere inesistente

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“A person's life consists of a collection of events,
the last of which could also change the meaning of the whole,
not because it counts more than the previous ones
but because once they are included in a life,
events are arranged in an order that is not chronological but, rather,
corresponds to an inner architecture.”
“What remains uncertain, rather, is whether this gain in evidence and (we might as well say it) splendor is due to the slow retreat of the sky, which as it moves away, sinks deeper and deeper into darkness, or whether on the contrary, it is the moon that is coming forward, collecting the previously scattered light and depriving the sky of it, concentrating it all in the round mouth of its funnel.” 3 likes
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