I was not introduced to Italo Calvino's The Baron In The Trees until nearly thirty years had passed since it was written. I read this book in the context of the first decade of the Twenty-first Century and I may have missed some of its true import. This book needs to be read in the same context as Allen Ginsberg's Howl in that it is an early precursor to the youth rebellion of the 1960s. I can also be read, and should be read in the context of the 2010s in light of the Arab Spring and Occupy consciousness that is rising on a global scale to challenge the old guard.
This amazing fable paints such a lovely notion of a young man who refuses to life within the stifling confines of tradition. He finds great freedom, but more importantly, he find great perspective in his life in the trees that has him refuse to walk on the ground. This book is a classic laden with rich characters and imaginative scenery. It is both tragic and liberating at once making it clear to the reader that freedom comes at a cost, but is probably worth it.
This book should be read with an understanding of the point in time in which it was written and why the liberation philosophy that it so elegantly portrays is still relevant today. Even in its English translation, artfully done by Archibald Colquhoun, this book conveys the poetic majesty that will surely benefit all of its readers.