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Difficult Loves

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  3,103 ratings  ·  178 reviews
In this volume the lives of ordinary people are transformed through the consummate artistry of Italy's master storyteller into brilliant explorations of intricate interior worlds. Blending reality and illusion with elegance and precision, Calvino weaves into these tales instants of recognition in which cherished deceptions and illusions of love--frequently self-love--are d ...more
Hardcover, First Harvest edition, 290 pages
Published September 28th 1984 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (first published 1958)
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People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel.

You, Mr. Calvino! I’ll never forget how this book made me feel.

An immensely gifted writer, Calvino displayed his genius in this collection by plucking the ignored or trivial fragments of moments we experience at one point or another in our lives and weaved them together to present these gems of short stories. How vividly he captured the minute happenings around us and served u
Ian Heidin[+]Fisch
My Real Life

This is a collection of short stories that Italo Calvino wrote over about ten years, following World War II.

The four discrete sections were originally published in separate volumes. However, what stands out about the collection is the organic growth that occurs over the duration of the stories.

In effect, we see boys growing into men, and girls growing into women. And Calvino growing into an artist.

Even though Calvino had just experienced the war, it seemed to be important that he doc
Perhaps you are like me and always have a book. It is physical, the ledge we look over to the other, the real, world. And it is metaphysical, intertwining with our own existence, characters and plotlines merging from the page to the street, the office, the bedroom. Oh, it gets muddled. A tortured, drunken sleep, where one wonders if the conversation, the gaze, the regret was real; or did I dream it, did I read it.

Amedeo Oliva always has a book. He took it to the beach. The book became every book
I am so happy to know Calvino and can't believe I'm just now getting around to him, but better late than never.

I got the edition with four sections: Riviera Stories, Wartime Stories, Postwar Stories, and Stories of Love and Loneliness. Twenty-eight stories total, most written 1945-1949, some in the 1950s, and with only a couple of exceptions I love them all.

From what I've read of his biography he's a fascinating person as well as a brilliant short story writer, and a brilliant short story, in m
Un Italo Calvino forse un po' meno a suo agio in questi racconti d'impronta così tradizionale e realista, ma bisogna ammettere che il tema è difficilissimo: gli amori accennati, quelli che potevano essere e non furono; un'intera vita insieme sfiorata, ma mai avvenuta; le occasioni perdute, quelle dimenticate o trascurate, e quelle lasciate ad aspettare per sempre. Notevolissimi i due racconti della seconda parte, intitolata "La vita difficile": "La formica argentina" e "La nuvola di smog", certa ...more
There was a time when I thought my purpose in life was to encourage as many people as possible to read Calvino. I bought this book for someone once and they said that the problem with it was that it had all these men and all they had to do was look at women and the women would have sex with them. To which the only answer is that it is a work of fiction and it is written by a man.

If this was all the book was about it would not be worth reading, but these short stories are a real delight. My favou
Simona Bartolotta
"Usnelli stava sempre zitto, ma questa angoscia del mondo umano era il contrario di quella che gli comunicava poco prima la bellezza della natura:come là ogni parola veniva meno, così qua era una ressa di parole che gli si affollavano alla mente: parole da descrivere ogni verruca, ogni pelo della magra faccia malrasa del pescatore vecchio, ogni scaglia argentata del muggine."

La maggiore difficoltà l'ho incontrata ad inizio lettura, dal momento che i primi racconti sono inconsistenti e sin troppo
Calvino, Italo. DIFFICULT LOVES. (1949; this ed. 1984). ****. This is a collection of short stories by Calvino, originally published in Italian as “Gli Amori Difficili.” Calvino (1923-1984) was born in Cuba, but spent the majority of his life in Italy, where he died in Siena. His work typifies the Italian oral tradition and love for the unusual circumstance. The stories in this collection are divided into four groups: “Riviera Stories,” “Wartime Stories,” “Postwar Stories,” and “Stories of Love ...more
The eleven stories called ‘Difficult Loves’ are Calvino’s early masterpieces – although written over the course over more than a decade, the echoes between them create an unmistakeable sense of unity.

A series of archetypal figures (‘the reader’, ‘the clerk’, ‘the bather’) pursue superbly bourgeois Continental lives: sea-bathing, catching trains, eating in cafés, having love affairs, drinking coffee, reading, smoking. For each, this ordinary existence is illuminated by a sudden moment of unglamor
Rosa Ramôa
"Eu amava-a, em suma. E era infeliz. Mas como poderia ela algum dia entender essa minha infelicidade? Há aqueles que se condenam ao cinzento da vida mais medíocre porque tiveram alguma dor, alguma desgraça; mas há também aqueles que o fazem porque tiveram mais sorte do que poderiam suportar."

Italo Calvino - Amores Dificeis
Diambil dari review gw di multiply.

Tagline buku ini adalah "kisah cinta yang tidak biasa". Dan emang bener, cerita-cerita di kumpulan cerpen ini adalah cerita yang tidak biasa. Kadang-kadang bikin gw bertanya-tanya, ini cinta atau cuma sekedar hubungan emosi antara dua manusia? Cerita-ceritanya muncul di setting yang aneh-aneh, padahal sebetulnya di kejadian sehari-hari. It's just that I never expected a [typical] love story to come out of that kind of situation. Misalnya, ibu muda yang terperan
Difficult Loves is a collection of short stories split into four sections: Riviera Stories, Wartime Stories, Post-war Stories, and Stories of Love and Loneliness. I’ve heard that each story is supposed to deal with some form of love, but I’m not sure this is true. Regardless, these stories are fine and unexpected. I’m particularly fond of the Riviera Stories section-- in one story, a gang of young boys explore a crab-infested ship; in another a young man tries to woo a girl by giving her a cornu ...more
Hendry Kurniawan
Cinta. Satu kata yang sangat luas maknanya. Cinta dapat dideskripsikan dengan berbagai bentuk atau cara. Ketika membicarakan cinta, kita tidak melulu terpaku pada logika, tetapi perasaan, naluri, dan hasrat juga berperan di dalamnya dan membentuk "sistem" interaksi sosial antara manusia yang satu dengan yang lainnya atau dengan lingkungan sekitarnya. Cinta memang kosmik dan epik, membaca kisah cinta pun menjadi sesuatu yang tak lekang waktu karena selalu ada sisi lain dari sekeping kata cinta. S ...more
Jinny Chung
"The Enchanted Garden" is where it's at. Nothing really happens, but it's beautiful and significant anyway.

Calvino, you are rich with the goods.

From 'Adventures of a Reader':

"For some time Amedeo had tended to reduce his participation in active life to the minimum. Not that he didn't like action: on the contrary, love of action nourished his whole character, all his tastes; and yet, from one year to the next, the yearning to be someone who did things declined, declined, until he wondered if he h
Meghan Fidler
This is one of the best shot story collections I've had the pleasure of reading. Organized into four themes--Riviera Stories, Wartime stories, Postwar stories and Stories of love and Loneliness-- Calvino draws from his experiences to depict a series of innovative variations. My favorite themes were Wartime stories and Stories of love and loneliness. My enjoyment of the Wartime stories was personally surprising: suffering and violence are hard topics for entertainment, but Calvino's emphasis on t ...more
Una bellissima raccolta di brevi racconti, incentrati sul tema dell'incomunicabilita', dei rapporti sfiorati, delle occasioni mancate. Alcuni sono stupendi, primo fra tutti L'avventura dei due sposi, brevissimo ma struggente.
Durante tutta la lettura mi sono veramente sentita cullare dalla lingua di Calvino, un italiano che ormai ha un sapore piacevolmente arcaico.
Samantha Verdin
Buena idea de fondo, pero es largo y cansado.
cosa c'è di tanto affascinante in un amore difficile? storie che finiscono nello stesso momento in cui avrebbero potuto iniziare, o che non iniziano mai. o storie che non sarebbero mai dovute cominciare. o storie che non riescono a finire. o tutte le infinite storie che sarebbero perfette, se il caso le facesse incontrare, e invece sono perse chissà dove?
è davvero l'essenza stessa dell'amore, la difficoltà? o forse è il sogno, l'immaginazione di un futuro nel momento in cui ci si illude che poss
In Difficult Loves each short story is a testament to Calvino's skill in capturing humanity. Each vignette zooms in on single moments or experiences which each serve to demonstrate the follies, the fears and the heart of humans. The book opens with 'The Adventure of the Soldier' and Calvino traces each of the soldier's thoughts and actions that occur when a well-looking widow sits next to him on a train. How far does he dare let his hand roam? How can he do so discreetly? How is he to interpret ...more
Un Calvino assolutamente attuale e che, come sempre, descrive e si prende gioco delle umane debolezze con ironia e dolcezza. Adoro i suoi racconti brevi e i suoi personaggi sono davvero indimenticabili, in ognuno di loro rivedo un pezzetto di me stessa.
Not surprising that after the disappointment of Cloud Atlas I'd turn to the master...


Er, well, as much as I love Calvino, this turned out to be not at all what I wanted to be reading right now.
Mayra Correa e Castro
Ítalo Calvino (1923-85, Cuba/Itália) proporciona boas overdoses de leitura quando se garra pra ler qualquer título dele. Uma prosa longa e aprumada, uma erudição sem pedantismo, a imaginação fértil de um fabulista moderno. Não tem como não gostar. Neste Os Amores Difíceis (1958), publicado no ano seguinte a sua estreia como autor, Calvino traz contos de grande fôlego (ou novelas, como queira), em que narra as desventuras da tríade amor-sexo-paixão, na primeira parte do volume, e a opressão que s ...more
May 25, 2013 Josh marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-and-unread

In Martin Scorsese's Bringing Out The Dead (great movie). Right in the middle of the frame there. Nothing gets past me. NOTHING.

(Incidentally, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Journey to the End of the Night are right next to it. When directors stick these things in their movies, you have to wonder, "IF YOU LIKE THESE ENOUGH TO STICK THEM IN YOUR MOVIE, WHY AREN'T YOU ADAPTING THEM?")

I can never pay attention to talking head-style documentaries because they always sit people in front

Calvino, è noto, è amante delle geometrie e del distacco ironico, più che dei melodrammi emotivi. E così, anche nell'affrontare i temi dei rapporti interpersonali, e in generale delle relazioni tra individuo e mondo, come fa in questa raccolta di racconti, Calvino predilige un approccio schematico, quasi formulaico, da 'parabola', evitando il più possibile i sentimentalismi per osservare ironicamente i suoi protagonisti da un punto di vantaggio. Per usare le parole dell'autore stesso nella nota
Tredici 'amori difficili' o forse solo immaginati, sognati. In realtà sono tredici caricature dei comportamenti umani.
Scritti quasi tutti negli anni cinquanta, risultano ancora freschi e attuali, con solo qualche... capello bianco che, come si dice (ma solo per gli uomini!), li rende più interessanti;-)
Simpaticissima l' 'Avventura del lettore' che cerca di conciliare il piacere della lettura con quella del nuoto. mi ci sono perfettamente ritrovata!
E, in omaggio ad ogni lettore, riporto questo b
Aug 28, 2013 jim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wanting to feel something other than yourself
Recommended to jim by: no one
This was just breath-takingly heart-breakingly brilliant and, at points, exactly what I was looking for. Calvino has such an incredible knack for describing personal thought and emotion... add to this a flurry of expertly chosen adjectives, and you find yourself taken away and immersed into the mind and body of the character on the page. This is what I needed.

As with any collection of shorter works, there are high points and low points. At times I felt like this was a mediocre read. One that I w
Now, I read Italo Calvino’s Difficult Loves several months ago, borrowed from friends in Marrakech, meaning I don’t remember excessive detail nor do I have an English copy available for reference. What I do recall, very clearly, is finding it painful to read. I love short stories, and I have a keen interest in all things Italian. Somehow, though, these stories dragged, and moving from one to the next couldn’t happen fast enough. I very vaguely remember preferring the stories toward the end over ...more
Apr 21, 2008 Kate rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vicki, among others
Recommended to Kate by: found fortuitously while shelving
Shelves: short-stories
Two or three stars for the first three quarters of this collection, a dazzling five to the final installment--the eight "Stories of Love and Loneliness."

A typically rending, 159-word final sentence:

"And on the doorsteps of all those houses were numerous women, elderly or aged, and on the parapets, seated in a row, numerous men, old and young, all in white shirts; in the middle of those streets like stairways, the babies were playing on the ground and an older boy was lying across the path, his c
A classic example of a book that sat on the “currently reading” shelf for so long, because it doesn’t lend itself at all to a cover-to-cover read, even by the standards of short story collection. Though the stories are thematically organized into four general categories (Riviera Stories, Wartime Stories, Post-War Stories, Stories of Love and Loneliness), within which there is a remarkable amount of coherence, it seems distinctly more pleasurable to hop around the pages at will and absorb differe ...more
Nicely done. Calvino is applying his imagination in a different direction from his usual here; instead of inventing a fanciful setting or premise, he takes situations and people which are mostly quite ordinary and invites us to look at them through an unusual lens.

I was worried about this love-story anthology going in because Calvino's women in his other work are often infuriatingly distant and alien. He skirts that problem here by making men the focal characters in almost every story. I think h
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  • Requiem: A Hallucination
  • A Violent Life
  • L'isola di Arturo
  • Un amore
  • To Each His Own
  • The Conformist
  • La cognizione del dolore
  • Fontamara
  • A Woman
  • Il bar sotto il mare
  • Elephant And Other Stories
  • Lessico famigliare
  • Una vita
  • Una questione privata
  • Night's Lies
  • Selected Stories
  • Mandarins: Stories by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
  • Blow-Up and Other Stories
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...
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler Invisible Cities The Baron in the Trees Cosmicomics Il cavaliere inesistente

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“Life, thought the naked man, was a hell, with rare moments recalling some ancient paradise.” 3 likes
“Don't you ever get tired of reading?" she asked. "You could hardly be called good company! Don't you know that, with women, you're supposed to make conversation?" she added; her half smile was perhaps meant to be ironic, though to Amedeo, who at that moment would have paid anything rather than give up his novel, it seemed downright threatening.” 2 likes
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