Thread on Italo Calvino's work: what's your favorite? Why? What's overrated/underrated?

Thread on Italo Calvino's work: what's your favorite? Why? What's overrated/underrated?

If on a winter's night a traveler, Invisible Cities, and the Cosmicomics stories are the greats for me. The sheer breadth of imagination, the playfulness with form without ever getting too arch and always retaining emotional impact... I think Cosmicomics might win for me though.

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  1. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    Tldr
    Read Borges instead

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      /thread

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      /thread

      Do you not have the time to do both? Maybe read less Brandon Sanderson?

      • 4 months ago
        Anonymous

        Calvino short fiction "Flash" is really fricking kino. Sometimes I feel like that but then I lose that feeling.

        What to make of it? Calvino just took a great photo of that feel.

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Read Borges instead
      read both

  2. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    Ok I'll read him now
    Thank you for the thread
    Where do I start?

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      Invisible Cities probably a good place to start. Really short but really good. Not so much a narrative as a collection of cities expressing architecture, emotion, memory, dreams, etc. Alternatively, the Cosmicomics stories (they've been collected in a few places) are wonderful short stories combining some kernel of scientific fact with fantasy and humor.

      https://youtu.be/w2UUhi3vs7g

      Thanks - this is cool, I hadn't seen it before

      • 4 months ago
        Anonymous

        >Calvino creeping on him and Weaver in the train station.
        Gave me a good chuckle. Here is another that is Vidal talking about Calvino, but I have not watched this one yet, an anon posted a pile of interviews awhile ago and I am still working through them.

        Been reading The Written World and the Unwritten World off and on for the past month or so, one of about a half dozen nonfiction works I have been hopping between. Pretty good but often goes on about Italian literature that I have no clue about. I think I prefer his fiction.

        • 4 months ago
          Anonymous

          forgot the link.

        • 4 months ago
          Anonymous

          forgot the link.

          Thanks anon, will watch this one too.

          I've been reading a few reviews of his work (including by Gore Vidal) which people might find interesting. Maybe after having read some actual Calvino first though.

          Gore Vidal: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1974/05/30/fabulous-calvino/
          Gore Vidal's obituary: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1985/11/21/on-italo-calvino/
          Salman Rushdie: https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v03/n17/salman-rushdie/calvino
          Jonathan Galassi: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/06/20/dreams-italo-calvino/
          James Butler (review of The Written World and the Unwritten World): https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v45/n12/james-butler/infinite-artichoke

          • 4 months ago
            Anonymous

            Nice, the obit is the only one of those I have read, will dig into those tonight. Have had picrel in my cart for awhile, probably will wait for routledge to do a sale since they tend to be on the pricey side and I have about a dozen books in my cart there so the savings will be substantial.

          • 4 months ago
            Anonymous

            Here's one Cosmicomic I really like btw, for some reason on a Chinese website: https://www.ruanyifeng.com/calvino/2008/12/the_other_eurydice_en.html

            That looks interesting, I wonder what it says. I don't read a lot of nonfiction (especially about writing) except for reviews. A lot of his stories do feel very cinematic though, like the use of second person

      • 4 months ago
        Anonymous

        I think Invisible Cities will just make you feel filtered if you don't understand Calvino's literary vision.
        If on a winter's night shows it the best and might coincidentally also be his best.
        The Baron in the trees might also showcase Calvino's love of playing with fable and concepts.

  3. 4 months ago
    Anonymous
    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      Crazy to think he died shortly after that was filmed.

  4. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    Invisible Cities. Beautifully strange and inventive. Don't know about underrated, but nothing's underratdd.

  5. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    Funny that you post this because I just started reading If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler this afternoon

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      Quite possibly my favorite! I remember reading it on a train at around 17 and just blew my mind on what "fiction" could be

      I think Invisible Cities will just make you feel filtered if you don't understand Calvino's literary vision.
      If on a winter's night shows it the best and might coincidentally also be his best.
      The Baron in the trees might also showcase Calvino's love of playing with fable and concepts.

      True, but IC is short enough that it's very easy for new readers to get into. The whole Our Ancestors trilogy is very fun and less formally weird. I don't think it's his best but does have that fable element. I still need to read his edited Italian Folktales

      • 4 months ago
        Anonymous

        I feel as if some of his work suffers in translation so I don't blame you if you had it that way.
        It's easier to read mayhaps so he could read that, see if he enjoys it, read if on a winters night, go back to invisible cities.

  6. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    Those are the only three of his works I've read so far and I loved all of them. Invisible Cities is still my favorite, maybe because it was the first one I read, but I recently read Cosmicomics and it really surprised me with how creative it was. For any Baldur's Gate 2 fans here it's like an entire book narrated by Jan Jansen if he was a timeless cosmic entity.

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      The Cosmicomics and Time and the Hunter were the first works of his I read. I didn't know till then you could write stories like that

  7. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    Stupendously boring.

  8. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    Cosmicomics were the worst for me - honestly almost torture to read these scientific premises stretched out into fables. A handful were good. Lots of them felt tedious, and almost the same story of chasing after some romantic interest dressed up in different science.

    Invisible Cities and If on a winter's night a traveler were both really good in different ways and are hard to choose between.

  9. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    I've read Invisible Cities and understood it to be Continental propaganda. Each city is an exploration of some concept in semiotics or some postmodern idea.
    I agree that Borges does this better (with more substance and more literary content). The book also made me very happy that I'm not European.

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      >rent free
      goddamn

      I read "Le Baron Perché" yesterday and it was great, reminded me of Siddhartha in some way, idk what should i read next of him tho

      If on a winters night ofcourse. If you liked the baron however you might also like italian fables. See what's available though.

    • 4 months ago
      Anonymous

      lol. I think you may have pushed the q-tip in a bit too far.

  10. 4 months ago
    Anonymous

    I read "Le Baron Perché" yesterday and it was great, reminded me of Siddhartha in some way, idk what should i read next of him tho

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