The Path to the Nest of Spiders
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The Path to the Nest of Spiders

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  2,554 ratings  ·  114 reviews
Italo Calvino's debut novel, first published in 1947, tells the story of Pin, a cobbler's apprentice in a town on the Ligurian coast during World War II. He lives with his sister, a prostitute, and spends as much time as he can at the lowlife bar where he amuses the grownups. When his friends dare him to steal a pistol from a Nazi soldier, Pin sets off on a series of picar...more
Paperback, 145 pages
Published May 1st 1984 by Ecco Press (first published 1947)
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Garima
What you read and what you experience in life are not two separate worlds, but one single cosmos.

Here I go again! Another review and my Dearest Calvino.

It’s been a spectacular reading year for me. I got to know some great people, got some great book recommendations and of course read some great books written by great authors. Of them I read the following writers for the first time (No Kidding!) : Vladimir Nabokov, Haruki Murakami, David Mitchell, David Foster Wallace, Virginia Woolf, Rohinton M...more
Stela

Ragni e lucciole

Com’era generosa e affascinante quell'epoca frenetica della “littérature engagée” che investiva l’autore non solo con l’autorità di diventare la portavoce della Storia ma anche con la capacità di influenzare le masse! Com’era seducente e quanti scrittori l’hanno corteggiata, tra cui Llosa, Calvino e tanti altri. Anche se dal loro giovane entusiasmo non sono nate capodopere, ci hanno regalato comunque qualche opera rimarcabile, lontana dall’ideologismo assurdo che prolifererà sott...more
Guido
Non so nulla della Resistenza. Be', qualcosina la so: ho ascoltato e letto qualche racconto. Ma leggere delle avventure di Pin è stato più utile e vantaggioso: il punto di vista di un bambino come lui - povero, dispettoso, indipendente - è un terreno più fertile di qualsiasi tentativo di narrazione dall'interno. Non possiamo pretendere che Pin ci conduca nei luoghi dell'azione militare, delle notizie storiche, delle battaglie ideologiche: siamo costretti a seguirlo nell'osteria del paese dove ca...more
Vale
"Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno" è uno dei primi libri scritti da Italo Calvino. L'autore decise di pubblicare il proprio romanzo dopo aver curato per Einaudi "Una questione privata" di Fenoglio. Perché? Innanzitutto Calvino si rese conto che l'Italia aveva bisogno di narrazioni del dolore per ricollegare frammenti di storie tra gli italiani. La guerra aveva diviso, aveva suscitato odio, ma come un pianto spezzato, questo dolore era muto perché si voleva dimenticare, si voleva rimuovere. La narra...more
Tyler Jones
For the last year or so I have been dipping now and again into the big collection of Calvino's letters that was published in English a couple years back. Today I read something that shocked me at first, but then made total sense when I thought about it - in a 1964 letter (March 20, to Franco Lucentini) Calvino writes: I continue to maintain that I have never loved any writer as much as Hemingway, even though his character can be vulgarized. This seems astonishing on the surface of it. It is hard...more
Beth
Pin is an orphaned boy being raised by his prostitute sister. He bums cigarettes off the German soldier who frequents his sister's bed and drinks off the men at the local tavern. He mocks and sings for adults, with whom he is more at ease than with other kids. One day the local resistance committee member is at the bar recruiting, and Pin is asked to steal the German's gun. In this way, Pin is drawn into the local resistance movement and ends up an assistant to the cook of a unit in the mountain...more
Carlo
Mentre leggevo le prime pagine, pensavo di parlare di romanzo di formazione, ma non è così. Il protagonista è il preadolescente Pin, ragazzo di strada aggressivo e sbruffone per mancanza d’affetto: la sua incapacità di comunicare con il mondo degli adulti, infidi e pericolosi, non muta, anzi la diffidenza cresce via via che aumentano le delusioni. Questo vale sia per le pagine, quasi picaresche, ambientate nel carruggio, sia per quelle che descrivono la vita di uno scalcinato distaccamento parti...more
Pete Young
Throughout his career Calvino had a very ambivalent relationship with this, his first novel, and even when not quite disowning it he was more than happy to point out its various faults and explain just how and why they came about. Written when he was twenty-four after Calvino had lived through some of the kinds of events he describes, and despite clearly trying not to be this is still a very naïve coming-of-age novel. Set in a town on the Ligurian coast at the tail end of the Second World War th...more
Moonquake Abbott
I enjoyed the book for it's depiction of the ambiguities underlying the world of adults/children, men/women, partisans/fascists, Germany/Italy, etc. Perhaps the most intriguing duality, at least from Pin's perspective, is the one between war/games which he never seems to distinguish throughout the novel.

However, one criticism of Calvino as a critic of his own work is needed for any review of this book considering the addition of a very revealing preface by the author. The preface was added later...more
Charlotte
I don't really understand why I liked this book so much. But I did. I couldd finish neither invisible cities nor difficult loves, but this book, calvino's first, at 23(!), i picked up at 11 am last friday morning and was 10 pages from the end by the end of the work day. every free moment i was inside those pages.

so apparently i'm not a fan of later calvino.

published in 1947, this is a coming of age tale of a young urchin, abused by his older sister who is a prostitute for the SS, that runs awa
...more
jeremy
italo calvino joined the italian resistance in 1943, and his experiences as a partisan during the final years of world war ii helped shape the ideas he would use for his first novel, written four years later at the age of twenty-four. set in italy during the war, the path to the spiders' nests is a coming-of-age tale about pin, an orphaned apprentice who spends his days hanging out at the bar frequented by his prostitute sister. after stealing a pistol from one of his sister's nazi clientele, th...more
Andrea
Punto di vista obliquo sulla resistenza

Un punto di vista obliquo sulla resistenza: il protagonista è un bambino, per di più finito nella scalcitata compagnia del "Dritto": irregolari, sbandati, indisciplinati.
Ho ammirato la capacità dell'autore di focalizzare l'attenzione del lettore attorno a dei "vuoti narrativi". Alla fine della lettura è proprio attorno a questioni poco raccontate che la mente continua a fantasticare. Cugino è un assassino? Il Dritto viene fucilato?
Nell'introduzione Calvino...more
Meghan Fidler
In the introduction to this book, Calvino's choice words seem almost to lament his first novel. The story, with short phrases and attention trained in a child's perception, presents a fascinating point of view of submerged anger, unspoken needs, and misunderstood desires.
Set in World War II, the main character Pin fights a personal war with abandonment in childhood during an era subsumed by utter adult rule. When Pin ends up in jail, his former boss explains the time period articulately:

"I'd...more
Christine
Aug 04, 2008 Christine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hard-core Calvino fans
What can I say that Calvino didn't already say in his rather defensive notes to his first novel? He commented at the end of his career that he wished he could have gone onto his subsequent novels never having written this book. He prepared me for mediocrity and I was pleasantly surprised. Compared to his more mature works, this one wasn't as exciting stylistically, but it was a good story in the terse spare way that Hemingway can tell a good story. That post-war, "masculino", neo-realist stuff.
Giovanna
Che confusione. Premetto che Calvino non è esattamente il mio autore preferito, anzi spesso ci ho litigato, ma talvolta ha saputo sorprendermi e stupirmi in positivo. Ecco, questo libro si colloca esattamente a metà tra le due cose: ha stravolto le mie aspettative ma non in modo completamente positivo. Forse è dettato dal fatto che per una volta avevo delle aspettative su un suo romanzo mentre le altre volte mi sono buttata a occhi chiusi e senza aspettarmi tanto. Perché quando ho visto questo l...more
Laura Noi
La resistenza vissuta attraverso gli occhi di un bambino.

Pin vive in una società squallida, senza morale, senza affetti. La sorella è una prostituta e i genitori non vengono mai menzionati. E' un bambino solo, cresciuto spiando quello che la sorella faceva nel letto con gli uomini, cresciuto nella volgarità e nel degrado. E' quindi un bambino dispettoso e maligno, che vuol essere sempre al centro dell'attenzione. Non è accettato dai suoi compagni e allora cerca rifugio tra adulti ubriachi e stan...more
Federica
Blog Stories Review: http://storiesbooksandmovies.blogspot...





Il sentiero di nidi di ragno è stato il romanzo che ha fatto conoscere al grande pubblico Italo Calvino.


La vicenda narrata ha luogo durante la seconda guerra mondiale in Italia. Il protagonista si chiama Pin ed è un bambino che si sente diviso tra due mondi: quello dei suoi coetanei e quello dei grandi. Egli, però, non appartiene totalmente nè ad uno nè all'altro. I bambini della sua età, infatti, sono così distanti ed estranei a lui m...more
Rubi
Un po' di tutto. Come nelle belle storie.
Una guerra vista con gli occhi di un bambino molto particolare.

"Arrivare a non avere più paura, questa è la meta ultima dell'uomo"
" E continuano a camminare, l'omone e il bambino, nella notte, in mezzo alle lucciole, tenendosi per mano"
Bookaholic
Literatura universală nu duce lipsă de cărţi despre cel de-al Doilea Război Mondial, dar puţine sunt scrise din perspectiva unui copil, aşa cum este Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno, din 1947, romanul de debut al lui Italo Calvino, scris când avea 23 de ani. Într-un stil total diferit de cel prin care Calvino a devenit celebru (din Dacă într-o noapte de iarnă un călător), Cărarea cuiburilor de păianjen, o carte ancorată în realism şi nicidecum bazată pe un nivel metatextual, direcţie pe care avea s...more
Salvatore Privitera
Una storia sui dolori della crescita, di infanzia negata sullo sfondo della lotta partigiana.
Un mondo popolato di personaggi fin troppo umani in quella che sembra essere quasi una favola, pur senza concedere nulla ad inutili mitologie.
Diana
The story of Pin, a street smart boy in Italy, and his interactions with a group of partisans. The book is very well written. It's from a pre-teen/early-teen boy's point of view and Calvino deftly conveys this through the his descriptions of Pin's interpretations of what goes on around him. As the book goes on I found that I cared and understood more of Pin's thoughts because he was maturing despite wanting to stay a child. Although I really enjoyed the writing, the subject matter didn't do much...more
Katie
I loved If On A Winter's Night A Traveller so much that I was eager to get something else by Calvino under my belt. While this in no way turned me off his writing, I found myself much less invested in this story than I would have liked.

I think it's as simply explained as this: The first problem I had was that I was unable to relate to Pin and his set of feelings and experiences as he blunders his way into Italian rebellion as an adolescent child. I didn't mind reading about him, but I could not...more
Pamela
Calvino's first novel written at the age of twenty three is set during Italy's struggle for Liberation during WWII. Calvino was a member of a partisan group based in the mountains and drew on his own experiences to write this novel of the Resistance. However, not content with a fictional memoir, he wanted to create a polemic. As he says in his preface: "I wanted to conduct a campaign on two fronts simultaneously: to launch an attack both against the detractors of the Resistance and against the h...more
Jgrace
The Path to the Nest of Spider's Nest by Italo Calvino
2 stars

Choosing a child's perspective to tell the story may have been innovative in 1947, but it doesn't seem so unusual now. I kept comparing this story to The Book Thief which I read just before it. Zuzak's use of Death as a narrator seemed much more compelling. The children in The Book Thief were far from perfect, but they were more likable than Pin. I had a parent/teacher response to the children in both books. Reading the Book Thief, I...more
Elisa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel
This was Calvino’s first novel, by his account written hurriedly in the final months of 1946—though the available translation incorporates revisions the author made years after the book’s initial publication, as well as including Calvino’s apologetic and nostalgic preface, written in 1964, in which he laments the short lived era of postwar Italian literature where it seemed possible to recreate the novel from scratch. Calvino also muses (absurdly in his case, given the inventiveness of his later...more
Rhys
Calvino's first book, a 'neo-realist' novel about the partisan struggle against the Nazis and the Fascists in the closing years of World War II in northern Italy. The story follows the resourceful child Pin as he steals a pistol from a German soldier and is forced to escape to the mountains, where he joins a ragged band of partisans -- volunteers in 'Dritto's Detachment', which is made up entirely of misfits who aren't really trusted by the more competent soldiers in the other detachments.

I firs...more
Kate
I am endebted to the editors of World Literature Today for their recent article on the literature of Liguria that led me to this absolute gem.

The Path to the Nest of Spiders was an exciting find for several reasons:
It is completely different from anything Calvino ever wrote after (it was his first novel, written at the age of 23). I love Invisible Cities also; to see how an authors style can change so drastically (and to read him explain why in the masterful preface by Calvino himself) was ver...more
Luisa
Qua si risolve qualcosa, là ci si ribadisce la catena. Quel peso di male che grava sugli uomini del Dritto, quel peso che grava su tutti noi, su me, su te, quel furore antico che è in tutti noi, e che si sfoga in spari, in nemici uccisi, è lo stesso che fa sparare i fascisti, che li porta a uccidere con la stessa speranza di purificazione, di riscatto. Ma allora c'è la storia. C'è che noi, nella storia, siamo dalla parte del riscatto loro dall'altra. Da noi, niente va perduto, nessun gesto, nes...more
i.a.i.a
Recensione su Temperamente: Pin è l’unico in tutto il carrugio a conoscere il sentiero dove fanno il nido i ragni. Quello è un luogo sicuro: il posto in cui ripararsi dalle ingiustizie dei grandi, dove scappare quando qualcuno vuole picchiarlo per aver fatto qualche battuta allusiva, dove andare a nascondere la pistola che gli uomini dell’osteria gli hanno imposto di rubare al marinaio tedesco che giaceva con la sorella. Forse un giorno Pin troverà un amico, un vero amico, che capisca e che si p...more
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  • L'isola di Arturo
  • Altri libertini
  • The Ragazzi
  • The Moon and the Bonfire
  • Lessico famigliare
  • Fontamara
  • Conversations in Sicily
  • To Each His Own
  • La boutique del mistero
  • The Late Mattia Pascal
  • La ragazza di Bube
  • The Time of Indifference
  • I Malavoglia
  • La chimera
  • Il partigiano Johnny
  • As a Man Grows Older
  • La cognizione del dolore
  • The Viceroys
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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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“We all have a secret wound which we are fighting to avenge.” 3 likes
“Grown-ups are an untrustworthy, treacherous lot, they don't take their games in the serious wholehearted way children do, and yet they too have their own games, one more serious than the other, one game inside another, so that it's impossible to discover what the real one is.” 1 likes
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