Matt's Reviews > The Baron in the Trees

The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino
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Nov 16, 11

Read from November 10 to 16, 2011

I look forward to reading much more Italo Calvino. This was a great book. Calvino expertly executes a humorous premise into a fun and emotional tale of a great character with an incomparable will.

This is the story of the Cosimo, the baron of Ombrosa, who at age 12 decides he is fed up with the demands of his family and normal life and climbs a tree, never to come down. The story is told by his brother, which I think was a great point of view for this story. Cosimo is a smart and resourceful boy who becomes a staple of the community as he grows. He has many adventures recounted by his younger brother, some dangerous, some romantic, all taking place between 10 and 100 feet above the ground.

His first day above the ground he meets a beautiful little girl who lives in the estate next door. She would have an influence over a great deal of his life, even though she is forced to leave Ombrosa for school (and more likely because her parents dont like her hanging out with a family rival who lives in trees). I wish Calvino had done more with this relationship. It plays a major role, but their love is complicated, twisted, and tragic. I think he could have developed this story line even more due to the emotional nature of it.

The whole book you can't help but thinking, how does it end? Does he ever come down? Do I want him to come down? Can he die up there? Can they somehow keep his corpse up there? I was never sure what I thought would or should happen, but Calvino crushes the ending in a way I would never have imagined, and I absolutely loved. Perfect ending for the book. The book is mostly happy go lucky, so it handcuffs itself as far as having one of those truly powerful, all time great endings, a la East of Eden. But it is perfectly executed and guaranteed to leave you smiling as you close the book.
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