MJ Nicholls's Reviews > Mr Palomar

Mr Palomar by Italo Calvino
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Mar 07, 2011

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bookshelves: oulipians, novellas, southern-europe

I'm not one of your starry-eyed prose-droolers who appreciates beautiful writing on its own terms. I need formal innovation or structural complexity or dazzling dialogue or knee-snapping humour to keep me amused amid the lexical contortionism. This makes Calvino an infuriating bedfellow: his Oulipo-era prose is constructed with tight mathematical rigidity, yet what comes through in this work is the shiny artifice of his prose, the sparkly poetics of the Cosmicomics. Not good.

Well . . . I don't know whether it's exhaustion from reading the dizzingly obsessive The Mezzanine, but this reflective novel didn't move me particularly. Hats off to the rigorous structure, though, and that final chapter: beautiful. (I'm not averse to a little beauty on its own terms).
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Reading Progress

March 7, 2011 – Started Reading
March 7, 2011 – Shelved
March 7, 2011 – Finished Reading
January 25, 2012 – Shelved as: oulipians
January 30, 2012 – Shelved as: novellas
August 26, 2014 – Shelved as: southern-europe

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