blue-collar mind's Reviews > Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings

Hermit in Paris by Italo Calvino
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Nov 23, 08

bookshelves: have-read-then-given-away-for-othe
Recommended for: essay-mongerers, international minds interested in stopping world domination by any one culture
Read in October, 2008

I was in Italy for the Terra Madre conference that Slow Food holds every two years (as books go, the Slow Food folks have a couple of good ones to read, especially Carlo Petrini's book about founding this wonderful international movement), and while walking MILES through Turin in the evening, I came across a bookstore that had a floor of English titles, and of course, a entire shelf of Calvino, who adopted Turin as his Italian homebase before moving to Paris.
So, when in Rome....

I have read a few of Calvino's books and enjoyed them-"Why Read the Classics?", "Six Memos for the Millenium" (wonderful lectures he never gave) and in fiction, Invisible Cities.
As a Cuban-born Italian with scientist parents, growing up in Facist Italy, he grew up with World Wars and watching the American Century really take off, which made for a fascinating mind and a skepticism that is necessary for any essayist. This book was put together after he died and is wonderful. The descriptions of America (like of the smelly Beats) are pinpoint and yet all of it is poignant as his letters back to friends show his loneliness but also his practicality of a staff member of publishing company. I think anyone that starts with this and then move on to his fiction will find a new favorite.

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