I've somehow stumbled upon Calvino this summer and, much to my surprise considering I've been left puzzled rather than satisfied with Borges - an authI've somehow stumbled upon Calvino this summer and, much to my surprise considering I've been left puzzled rather than satisfied with Borges - an author he's compared to incessantly - Calvino has proven to be very enjoyable.
For me, these stories, though seemingly disjointed, all share many points. Calvino is really interested in the distinctions made between singularity and commonality, a recurring theme which plays out in a perfect setting. What better place than the vastness of the universe we all seemingly inhabit as "individuals" to present these stories? What better narrator than Qfwfq, whose nebulous sense of time and place make him at once both very unique and also so omnipresent in everything to the point of banality?
In truth, I liked a few stories better than others. Particularly the first story of the collection, "The Distance of the Moon," was a great read that had me reading slowly, twice, up-side down, over and around trying to understand Calvino's magic as a writer. Other stories were not so enjoyable.
However! That being said, I have the feeling I'll return to this book a lot. It is probably well worth a few reads many times over!...more
A book impossible to review with a synopsis of any kind. Truly a testament, in this sense, to the eclectic treatment of its subject matter of cities.A book impossible to review with a synopsis of any kind. Truly a testament, in this sense, to the eclectic treatment of its subject matter of cities. Although the guiding thread is a set of encounters between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan, the reader's experiences and reactions are the true yardstick by which this book is measured. As one of the better quotes in a book replete with good quotes says, "It is not the voice that commands the story: it is the ear."
Open your ears and experience for yourself the world Calvino helps his readers create.
On a side note, if you're interested in getting a good idea of how talented Calvino is as a writer, I'd recommend you read "The Path to the Spider's Nest." The novel, Calvino's first, is very Italian neorealist in a way that starkly contrasts with later works such as "Invisible Cities." See for yourself the extent of this man's talent and ability to write in radically different styles....more
Movement, movement, movement. If there's one thing Fo uniquely contributes to contemporary theater, which curiously in his case is an amalgamation ofMovement, movement, movement. If there's one thing Fo uniquely contributes to contemporary theater, which curiously in his case is an amalgamation of many theatrical traditions including Italian commedia dell'arte, Theater of the Absurb, Brechtian theory, etc., it's his focus on movement. This becomes very evident in this play where the absurd movements of food, characters and ideas across the stage serve to criticize the equally absurd movements of rampant economic capitalism that leads to inflation and blind obedience.
That being said, however, I feel the play is a bit idealistic in its outlook. Towards the end, Giovanni's transformation seems a bit contrived, but what else is to be expected in a work determined to expose truth through absurdity?
Ah, one last thing. If you're interested in seeing how exactly Fo incorporates movement into literature (after all, he did win the Noble for Literature), read the introduction by Jenkins (Fo's English translator) in the collected work of Fo plays titled We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay! And Other Works: The Collection of Plays by Dario Fo. ...more