Harish Venkatesan's Reviews > Mr Palomar

Mr Palomar by Italo Calvino
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Jul 10, 09

Read in July, 2009

This novel (can't really call it that, more like a collection of musings) reminded me why I love calvino's work- beautiful prose (intricate but light; carefully chosen words), interesting premise (a man's quest to find the Absolute by observing principles at work in the mundane world around him), and full of insight. Planning to go through it again to savor some of the observations.

at the butcher's:
"The elaborate and greedy order that he intended to make momentarily slips his mind; he stammers; he falls back on the most obvious, the most banal, the most advertised, as if the automatons of mass civilization were waiting only for this moment of uncertainty on his part to seize him again and have him at their mercy."

on a gorilla at the zoo's relationship with a tire:
"And yet what, more than an empty circle, can contain all the symbols you might want to attribute to it? Perhaps identifying himself with it, the gorilla is about to reach, in the depths of silence, the springs from which language burst forth, to establish a flow of relationships between his thoughts and the unyielding, deaf evidence of the facts that determine his life... "

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