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The Castle of Crossed Destinies

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  4,660 Ratings  ·  361 Reviews
A group of travellers chance to meet, first in a castle, then a tavern. Their powers of speech are magically taken from them and instead they have only tarot cards with which to tell their stories. What follows is an exquisite interlinking of narratives, and a fantastic, surreal and chaotic history of all human consciousness.
Paperback, 144 pages
Published October 2nd 1997 by Vintage Classics (first published 1969)
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Is a picture worth a thousand words?

And if so, does it tell a story?

Imagine Calvino setting out to create a Boccaccio or Dante situation, a setting in which travellers meet in an obscure forest and have time to spend on a storytelling adventure. Calvino would hardly be Calvino if he didn't give the project his own twist, complicating matters to the point of impossibility. His protagonists, including the narrator, discover that they are mute.

How are you to share if you can't speak? They let Ta
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Ah, to be drunk with a pack of tarot cards.

Or was it speed? Not sure. It could be PCP. But whatever the drug, this collection of short stories surrounding the obvious use of tarot cards to write stories or re-write common tales or to lay down the structure of alchemy or to just have a plain ole good time is a concept I can love in pure concept terms, and do, but just how much did I love this exact work?

Um. Well. Some parts were fun and funny and the deep story concepts were really rather cool,
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
‘I always feel the need to alternate one type of writing with another, completely different, to begin writing again as if I had never written anything before.’

And thus ends Italo Calvino’s The Castle of Crossed Destinies. There are times when I forget just how much I love Calvino’s writing. This is a very short book, but one that requires intense concentration to read – in fact, it requires intense concentration right up until the point where you realise that you simply aren’t smart enough to ge
Paul Bryant
Nov 17, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
People sit around in pubs and get drunk and bandy ridiculous ideas about - hey, what if you wrote a novel but you couldn't use one letter of the alphabet! Wow, great idea. Hey what about a bunch of characters who can only communicate by means of tarot cards? Whoah, that's cool. Hey - what about someone getting in the next round? Well, we've been part of those evenings, and the next day we've got a fat headache and forgotten all that nonsense. Except for Italo Calvino and Georges Perec. They don' ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core
To be my friend here in Goodreads, my question is: "What is your favorite literary genre?" In response to that, I received several answers ranging from classics, noir, thrillers (very few), mystery and suspense and romance (every now and then) but mostly YA and "none in particular" or as "I read anything" (that sometimes makes me ask myself what's the use of asking the question). Well, I now have 200+ friends and more than half of those I guess wanted me to be their friend instead of the other w ...more
Aslı Can
Kitabı son cümlesi ile anmak ve tanıtmak istiyorum:

Güneş'in gökte dikilip durmasından usandım; artık Dünya'nın sözdizimi bozulsun, oyun kartları, kitabın sayfaları, yıkım aynasının tuzla buz olmuş parçaları birbirine karışsın diye bekliyorum.

Italo zihnimin zerrelerine zamanla git gide daha çok nüfus ediyor. Ben hiç bitmeyecek bir inşaat için hazırlanan çimento harcı gibi öylece dönüp duruyorum. Durmak da istemiyorum.
Jeff Jackson
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-2
This one looked like pure candy - stories of knight, hermits, and queens told from Tarot cards! - but that proved to be a mirage. Instead it's an Oulipian experiment in how to generate multiple stories from two Tarot decks which differ only in their illustrations. The stories unfold one card at a time - the selected cards are also shown in the margins - as the narrator struggles to create coherence between each card and an overall narrative thread throughout the course of the reading.

There's a
Shaimaa Ali
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
حسناً .. كانت هذه أفضل خاتمة لهذا العام - الغير موفق معي بالمرة - وقراءتى للرواية العبقرية لكالڤينو ( قلعة المصائر المتقاطعة)
فكرة عبقرية حقاً ربط فيها كالڤينو قصص متنوعة بأوراق التاروت -على إختلاف نوعيه- وبينما يشدك الأسلوب السردي فى البدء وتتعود على غرابته (من متابعة رسومات كل ورقة وما تحمله من معنى يناسب القصة) .. حتى يتكشف لك شيئاً مذهلاً فى النهاية وهو تداخل مصائر القصص بشكل طولى وعرضى - كمؤلف كلمات متقاطعة ماهر- ويتصاعد هذا البناء القصصي ويصل إلى ذروته فى آخر قصة وهى التى حوت تمازجاً بين ر
Amy (Other Amy)
Jul 04, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: People who like to watch experimental fiction crash and burn
Recommended to Amy (Other Amy) by: The 1001 people, who need their heads examined
I publish this book to be free of it: it has obsessed me for years. I began by trying to line up the tarots at random, to see if I could read the story in them. "The Waverer's Tale" emerged; I started writing it down; I looked for other combinations of the same cards; I realized the tarots were a machine for constructing stories; I thought of a book, and I imagined its frame: the mute narrators, the forest, the inn; I was tempted by the diabolical idea of conjuring up all the stories that could ...more
Paolo Gianoglio
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
L’opinione comune è che le storie siano create dagli uomini. Poi a volte leggiamo di qualche scrittore che ci racconta di una storia “che voleva essere raccontata”, e ci fermiamo a pensare se non sia vero che le storie sono già tutte presenti, e attendono solo qualcuno che le voglia raccontare. Con questo libro Calvino fa un altro passo, per portarci a riflettere sul rapporto tra scrittura e narrazione, tra significato e forma. La storia emerge dalle carte dei tarocchi, quasi che il mazzo fosse ...more
Montaser Abusin
هذا الكاتب ايتالو كالفينو مجنون رسمي ،لكنه ممتع ومبدع.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"Estou cansado de ver O Sol permanecer no céu, não vejo a hora em que se desfará a sintaxe do Mundo: que as cartas do jogo se embaralhem, as folhas dos infólios, os fragmentos de espelho da desgraça".

E eu fiquei cansada do livro mesmo sendo pequeno. Não consegui entender a relação das cartas do tarot com as obras de Shakespeare nem o propósito da narrativa.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The Castle of Crossed Destinies" is set in either an aristocratic home in a remote forest that has fallen to being a travelers' inn or an inn that has taken on pretensions to be a castle (the book is in two halves, one from each perspective).
All the travelers are gathered around a dinner table and find they are for some reason rendered mute in this place and must tell their stories to one another by laying cards from a tarot deck in a certain sequence. The cards are depicted in extensive engra
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italiani
Taroccare un libro
Quest'opera di Calvino ha due origini: un convegno internazionale sulle strutture del racconto e in particolare una conferenza su “La cartomanzia come sistema semiotico”; la scrittura di un testo per l'editore Franco Maria Ricci che illustrasse i Tarocchi del mazzo Visconteo. Sono andata a cercarli in Internet, quelli della Beinecke Library sono opere d'arte degne di una chiesa toscana.
Il libro di Calvino sviluppa l'idea che il mazzo di c
رغد قاسم
حتى قبل أن اصل إلى الحكاية اﻷخيرة، عرفت أن قلعة المصائر المتقاطعة هي قلعة الكتابة
أعتقد أن أجمل ما في الرواية هي أسطرها الأخيرة والتي يتحدث فيها كاليفانو عن ناجين من الحرب أخرسهم هول ما شاهدوه ولم يبق لهم في عزلتهم في نزل بعيد سوى صفحة التسالي من جريدة قديمة!
يا الله
كيف لخص كاليفانوا الحكاية كلها، وكيف غير رأيك في عمله فجأة وأنت تقرأ هذه السطور الأخيرة بعد أن يكون رأسك قد دار من تشابك القصص.
الرواية تجريبية، تمثل شغف الكاتب على فترة طويلة بالتفرج على أوراق التاروت ومحاولة تخيل قصص منها ، قصص مت
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics, fantasy
I don’t know why I keep trying; it’s quite obvious that while there are aspects of Calvino’s writing that I love, even coming blurred through the translations, his structures, styles, plots, characters (or lack thereof) really get on my nerves. The idea is fine, but then telling a whole series of stories via someone guessing at what other people mean by laying out certain patterns of tarot cards… gets wearing.

It’s nice at first to keep your mind on the cards, the symbolism, the way the story hap
Bhavya Viswarajan
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I like books. And I like books on books. Italo Calvino creates an air of suspended fictional narratives, with 78 tarot cards, weaving in, amongst others, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, Oedipus and Sigismund of Vindabola and his interpretation of dreams.

Travellers meet in a tavern, wish to share their stories, but find themselves rendered mute. With just tarot cards at their disposal, though the the tales they create look clichéd, their telling is very much not. Interpretations are questioned, and C
L'idea di inventare delle storie a partire dai tarocchi è originale e divertente. Inoltre, è scritto meravigliosamente (Calvino non si smentisce). Ma tutto ciò non è stato sufficiente per farmi apprezzare pienamente il libro.

La prima parte (Il castello dei destini incrociati) l'ho apprezzata di più per la facilità nel seguire l'evolversi delle storie. La seconda parte (La taverna dei destini incrociati), al contrario, l'ho trovata pesante per via di un intrecciarsi (e anche sovrapporsi) delle st
Sep 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, italia
Calvino è geniale. Il commento potrebbe limitarsi a queste parole.
Un tesoro questo piccolo libro, che raccoglie due racconti (o forse potrei dire due romanzi con mille storie dentro), uno quello che dà il titolo al libro, “il castello dei destini incrociati”, l’altro si intitola “la taverna dei destini incrociati”.
Dico subito che mi è piaciuto tantissimo il primo, un po’ meno il secondo.
Ne “il castello dei destini incrociati”, partendo dai Tarocchi del mazzo visconteo, il più antico che si conos
Travelling Sunny
Apr 12, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1305-read
A group of guests - unknown to each other - at a castle in the woods find they have lost the power of speech, so they use a deck of tarot cards to "show" their stories to each other. Some cards are reused in more than one tale, resulting in a tapestry of cards that can be read forward, backward, sideways, slantways, etc.

Cool idea, right? Add to that the format of the book, which illustrates each card in the margins of the book and provides layout pictures of everyone's stories as they intertwine
La lettura di questo libro ha occupato tutta la mia giornata, non riuscivo a staccarmi. Ho dovuto fare delle pause forzate, soprattutto durante la lettura de La Taverna, perché non ho una cultura così vasta da capire ogni riferimento, anche se piccolo, ad altri testi libri o storie. Avere Google è una fortuna. Mi sono goduta a pieno la lettura, ogni sua sfumatura e ammetto che avrei letto 'Il motel di destini incrociati' molto volentieri. Peccato non l'abbia scritto, ma capisco la necessità di a ...more
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ecco, questo sarebbe un libro da tablet che riproducesse le immagini dei tarocchi che Calvino fa giostrare per raccontare le storie di questo bi-romanzo, del castello e della taverna dei destini incrociati.

Geniale nella costruzione geometrica delle storie, raffinatissimo e coltissimo nella scelta dei personaggi che pesca nell'Orlando Furioso, nella mitologia, nelle tragedie di Shakespeare.

Il passaggio che preferisco è: "Anch'io cerco di dire la mia" dove l'autore si lascia condurre dalla success
তানজীম Rahman)
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reading Calvino can be a dispiriting experience for me. Whenever I start reading one of his works, I am stunned at the brilliance of his imagination, and then wonder if I can ever hope to match his level of sheer innovative genius.
This book, for example, is about a strange castle inside a forest. Once you enter the castle, you lose your ability to speak. And the inhabitants of the castle have to communicate their stories using a deck of Tarot cards. The symbols of the Tarot take on different mea
Io ce lo vedo Calvino, che passa giornate intere a spostare carte sul tavolo, a girarci intorno, a prendere appunti, ad alzarsi la notte e spostarle di nuovo.
Idea bellissima e ben riuscita secondo me, ma non tutti i racconti mi hanno fatto impazzire.
This is kind of a splendid book. It is demanding; the reader must engage with it, examining each card as it is revealed and disputing its meaning with the narrator. It also helps to be well-versed in folklore and literature, both because recognizing many of the tales makes them more comprehensible and because Calvino's style is a strange, almost challenging mix of archaic and modern literary styles that sits uneasily on genre shelves.

It actually reminds me quite a bit of Catherynne M. Valente's
Mar 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Astrid
Recommended to Rand by: Fate
This book is 144 pages. It is a book, translated from the Italian. The stories are based upon the Tarot. The Tarot is based upon life. Life is based upon stories.

If you are reading this far through all of the reviews for The Castle of Crossed Destinies, none of this is news to you. This off-site review includes images of the Visconti deck which Calvino used.

This review is number 141. Once three more reviews are added, there will be one review for every page in the book. After that direct corres
Sei un giovane scrittore in erba? Stai pensando di vendere un rene per frequentare quel master di scrittura creativa che tanto agogni?

Lascia perdere. Per soli 8,00€ puoi avere "Il castello dei destini incrociati" di un tal Calvino che ti spiega come si fa a scrivere una storia dal nulla. Basta un mazzo di tarocchi. Li butti giù e ti immagini una storia. Ma non è detto che bisogna usare per forza i tarocchi. Anche combinare vari dipinti tra loro va benissimo. Insomma, qualsiasi elemento è utilizz
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Calvino'nun hayli deneysel, açıkçası herhangi iyi bir edebiyat okuruna "okumalısınız" diye de öneremeyeceğim tek çalışması. Deneysel kitaplar olmalıdır, severim, iyidir de, ancak Kesişen Yazgılar Şatosu'nun bunun yanında, hiç okur dostu bir metin olmama gibi bir sorununun olduğunu da düşünüyorum. Tarot kartlarından öykü kurma çabası içinde türlü yaratıcılık olanakları barındıran anlamlı bir çaba olsa ve Calvino'nun kitabında yer yer bu olanaklardan başarıyla faydalanılmış da olsa, özellikle kart ...more
Simona Bartolotta
Ho preferito molto di più la prima parte rispetto alla seconda.
Le storie ben scritte hanno sempre un fascino nascosto ed esercitano un richiamo talmente intenso, incomprensibile eppure così ovviamente chiaro, che è impossibile non rispondere.
Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere)
I bumped into this book via wikipedia. I was (actually still am, as I write this) reading Orlando Furioso, and on the wikipedia page under Later Literature, read this:
The Italian novelist Italo Calvino drew on Ariosto for several of his works of fiction including Il cavaliere inesistente ("The Nonexistent Knight", 1959) and Il castello dei destini incrociati ("The Castle of Crossed Destinies", 1973). In 1970 Calvino brought out his own selection of extracts from the poem.
I can't tell you if Calv
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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 about Italo Calvino

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“every choice has its obverse, that is to say a renunciation, and so there is no difference between the act of choosing and the act of renouncing” 18 likes
“From this arid sphere every discourse and every poem sets forth; and every journey
through forests, battles, treasures, banquets, bedchambers, brings us back here, to the center
of an empty horizon.”
More quotes…