Difficult Loves is eleven very short stories in which Calvino is like a biologist at a microscope analysing the sensation of a few minutes or hours in minute detail revealing the patterns beauty and secrets of the mundane They reminded me a little of Nicholson Baker s The Mezzanine published 30 years later see my review HERE Realistic moments rather than fantastical and despite the titles most are not really love stories nor adventures Image Woman looking in microscope SourceCalvino wrote these in his mid 20s 30s years before his famous post modern novels including Invisible Cities and If on a winter s night a traveler see my reviews HERE and HERE respectivelyThe Adventures of a Soldier 1949There is sexual tension for a young soldier sitting next to a 30 something wealthy widow in a train carriage He s unsure how much he can or should take the opportunity to enjoy accidental contact as the train jolts them like two sharks razing each other He struggles to read her signals when she moves her jacket is it to offer him cover or to block his path In the days of MeToo this takes on additional import along with uestions about how reliable the soldier s thoughts are or whether he s wanting something to brag about in the barracksThe Adventures of a Crook 1949A short bedroom farce featuring a married hooker her husband a client and a cop WeakThe Adventures of a Bather 1951A comic dilemma transfigures into exploration of aging and body image A woman swimming off a crowded beach realises she s lost her swimsuit She stifled the anxiety rising inside her and tried to think in a calm orderly fashion There s delicious detail of the sights and sounds of the beach the intimacy of the water on her skin and the type of people around including a young woman judged full of smugness and egotism on her appearanceAs she ponders what to do Signora Isotta Barbarino confronts the fact that this body had indeed been a In a Glass Grimmly glory of hers but was now a cause for shame even when clothed but that life matters than pride or shame in one s body The Adventures of a Clerk 1953After a night with a woman a clerk is struck by the air and colors and sounds all around as if he were walking to the sound of music liberated from his habitual routine as if on the crest of a wave He relishes reliving his memories to retain as far as possible the inheritance of that night The exuisite paradox is the joy of such a secret makes him want to share it with someone but that would change it The Adventures of a Photographer 1955 It is only when they have the photos before their eyes that they seem to take tangible possession of the day spent Far and away the best of aood collection it s spot on for the Instagram New Directions in American Intellectual History generation and enjoyably philosophical for thoughtful people of any age even though it entails the delayedratification of expensively developing film rather than limitless free and instant digital pics Image BizzaroComics If a tree falls in a forest and no one puts it on Facebook does it make a sound SourceAntonino doesn t see the attraction of photography Instead of rejoicing in the spontaneity of the moment people live in anticipation of nostalgia In order to really live you must either live in the most photographic way possible or else consider photographable every moment in your life The first course leads to stupidity the second to madness But as the only single man in his African Immigrant Families in the United States: Transnational Lives and Schooling group of friends is often asked to take photos of them and their familiesThe logical conclusion is to photograph everything in the world that restsist photography photographs themselves At this point JL Borges sprang happily to mind see my review HERE You cannot suffer the past or future because they do not exist What you are suffering is your memory and your imagination SadhguruThe Adventures of a Traveler 1958 The train devoured its invisible road A manets the sleeper from northern Italy to Rome where his The House of Saulx-Tavanes: Versailles and Burgundy, 1700-1830 girlfriend lives as he regularly does He relishes the pleasure in confronting and overcoming the various difficulties aided by his honed tactics for tickets seats and privacy balanced by scruples and etiuette Commuters of all kinds will relate The unanswered uestion is whether he enjoys the journey including the train s amorous caressing motion than the destination The Adventures of a Reader 1958 Nothing eualled the savor of life found in books Aently humorous look at the competing passions for books and sex A man of wide literary tastes enjoys holiday reading in a uiet cove interspersed with an occasional swim one for the mind the other for sensual physical stimulation When he sees a woman on the rocks below he evaluated the amount of lazy sensuality and of chronic frustration that was in her and dismisses the possibility of a uick fling in favour of reading Nevertheless he sits so her legs align with the edge of his book The Adventures of a Near Sighted Man 1958This is about focus in a broader sense than the title implies As a child I wanted to wear lasses but didn t dare pretend I couldn t read the As a child I wanted to wear lasses but didn t dare pretend I couldn t read the as I assumed the optician would know In my mid teens I finally needed them and I ve never wanted contact lenses nor do I take my Dark Tapestry (Colin and Leora Mysteries) glasses off when I relax Clear vision from behind a protective layer is oddly important to me Yet I can relate to Amilcare perhaps because what he initially was is what I ve strived to avoid Life was losing savour and he was bored of it until he realised he was short sighted andot lasses Suddenly he sees the world in enriched detail But it s also distracting He has to learn what was pointless to look at and what was necessary because this indiscriminate covetousness of sensations was often punished Another factor is that he wears lasses suddenly becomes the main descriptor of him of sensations was often punished Another factor is that he wears lasses suddenly becomes the main descriptor of him he the man he once was and does that matter Should he have ones that are barely visible and merge with his physiognomy or bold black ones that are almost a maskThe Adventures of a Wife 1958 I say unto you That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart Matthew 528 KJVThis is about a young woman married for two years pondering whether she has committed adultery In a technical sense it s ambiguous but there s a buzz as she justifies to herself a night out with a young man and then discovers the enjoyable frisson of flirty chat with men The Adventures of the Married Couple 1958Sweet but dull The husband works a night shift and his wife works daytime hours yet they find snippets of intimacy waiting for and helping each otherThe Adventures of a Poet 1958 Islands have a silence you can hear But Calvino dissects that to a network of minuscule sounds that enfold it This is a bit like The Adventure of a Reader the conflicting pull of words and lustloveThe poet has never written a poem about love but paddling a canoe into a cave with his irlfriend His mind used to translating sensations into words was now helpless Then from too few words to too many Into Usnelli s mind came words and words thick woven one into the other with no space between the lines until little by little they could no longer be distinguished and only the black remained the most total black impenetrable desperate as a scream What price loveOther uotes Waiting with sweet anxiety to see the developed pictures anxiety to which some add the subtle pleasure of alchemic manipulations in the dark Room Her Recognizing As Acts Her recognizing as acts love these photographic rapes Strong words At this hour people who are awake fall into two categories the still and the already The sun s rays reflected underwater razed her making a kind of arment for her or stripping her all over again The asping fish linted in their pungent dress of scales The nails of his shoes marking the friable crust of sand Smog 1958At 50 pages it s longer than the previous stories and sometimes published separately so I ve reviewed it on its own HEREA Plunge into Real Estate 1957 novella 1 The Riviera was The GI Bride gripped by a fever of cement All he could see these days was aeometrical arrangement of parallelepipeds and polyhedrons ranked one above the other A twenty something son persuades his mother and younger brother to sell the bottom of the arden for apartments because they owe money after the father s death They o into partnership with a developer who everyone says is dodgy and he duly strings them along very effectively But very boringlyImage Unfinished concrete apartments SourceThis is nearly 100 pages compared with fewer than 10 for most of the Difficult Loves stories reviewed above The characters and writing style are similar except this covers many months though it felt like years A hugely disappointing end to this volume but I ll keep it listed at 4 overall This was my seventh Calvino and how ever many other books of his I et to read in the future I simply can t see anything topping the masterpiece that was Invisible Cities This collection of short stories does see Calvino in wonderful form though but as we are dealing with 28 pieces in all some were obviously better than othe. This dazzling collection of stories follows the individual adventures of a varied cast of characters. ,
Ized take on Italian Economy during 1950 s in eneral and bourgeois class in particular but again it s an engaging tale that entails that society builds character and shapes our beliefs in the most unlikely circumstances Calvino lovingly carries his readers alongside him and makes them experience the world through his words and makes them experience their own world through his creativity After reading Difficult Loves I can easily say that he s one of the most versatile Writers I ve read An ideal companion who understands you and makes you understand him by displaying virtuosity of a master story teller Calvino as a storyteller comes across as a Modernist follower of one of Boccaccio s literary personas Both fabulists collected edited and reinterpreted older popular tales both also wrote their own For them the core of fiction could be extracted from this Ratscalibur genre And at least for Calvino an Agronomist that is where the seeds of his literary abilitieserminatedUnlike the The Decameron Difficult loves does not have a framing story There is however a story about the way they have been framed My Spanish translation follows the arrangement and The Million Dollar Goal (The Million Dollar Series, grouping of the Italian Einaudi edition from 1970 The English edition is different The Italian presented thirteen very short stories under the subtitle Difficult Loves Gli amori difficili and a couple of longer tales under Difficult Lives La vita difficile The version in English does not include the last two and instead incorporates many other storiesrouped as the Riviera War and Postwar TalesThe story behind the proper thirteen Difficult Loves also has its own suspense They were written along a period of two decades some during the late 40s most of them in the 50s and one from a much later date 1967 This last one the Adventure of a Motorist stands out It could not have been included in 1958 when they were The Selected Poems grouped with many others as I Raconti The Stories Their titles were alsoenerated later when they were translated into French in 1964 They were then unified by their shared part of their individual titles They all are The Adventure ofX I have expanded on this possibly dry account of the editorial history of Difficult Loves because I think it illustrates the difficulties of reading a collection of short stories and of aining an opinion of the writing of any one author based on a reading experience of a few and probably closely consecutive sittings Particularly when they correspond to a protracted and complex creative period as is the case with theseTo this difficulty for it is not just the loves that are difficult the Italian 1970 edition added another one It included a remarkable Preface with no signature Surprisingly this Preface has not been included in the English edition Determinant for me the Spanish edition has it and since it dates from 1989 it reveals that Calvino himself wrote it After Calvino s death in 1985 his heirs allowed the disclosure of his signatureThe hidden and revealed authorship transforms the Preface into an uncanny reading He talks in third person of the influences that shaped his writing and his career These are personal political ideological philosophical and literary He also provides a literary analysis a criticism of his themes style and imagery The title and the choice of Loves is unveiled in its significance and the strange mixture between realism and fable as well as the tension between the rational and intellectual are also evaluatedProvidentially I left the Preface for the end reading it as a Postface But nonetheless this edition now seems like a mockery Calvino hiding his authorship is uiding our reading of the author Calvino No not My Jihad: The True Story of An American Mujahid's Amazing Journey from Usama Bin Laden's Training Camps to Counterterrorism with the FBI and CIA guiding Kidnapping His notorious explorations of the role and power and limitations of the author and particularly of the reader have been taken out of their fictional framework Wearing the mask of conventional roles he is subverting even his Modernist experimentsAnd that is why I cannot tell you my opinion of these tales Behind mine one would be able to read the lines of the supreme Favolatore Perhaps you are like me and always have a book It is physical the ledge we look over to the other the real world And it is metaphysical intertwining with our own existence characters and plotlines merging from the page to the street the office the bedroom Oh itets muddled A tortured drunken sleep where one wonders if the conversation the The Book of Leviathan gaze the regret was real or did I dream it did I read itAmedeo Oliva always has a book He took it to the beach The book became every book a constantly changing kaleidoscope a picture carousel He d look up over that ledge see the rocks thereenish blue water the obliue dash of a crab But they were only peeks He looks down always looks down as the carousel turns and Raskolnikov counts the steps only peeks He looks down always looks down as the carousel turns and Raskolnikov counts the steps separate him from the old woman s door turns again and Lucien de Rubempr azes at the towers and roofs of the Conciergerie before sticking his head into the noose turns again and a cannonball falls at the feet of Prince Andrei turns again to a shop filled with engravings and statues where Fr d ric Moreau his heart in his mouth was to meet the Arnoux familyAmedeo peeks again A woman languishes on an air mattress rolling down
twin pieces of her swimsuit to catch the She waves asks for a light for her cigarette She does not move away when he touches her Amedeo enters the water troubled And it turns again How will this end He obsesses What will be the outcome with Albertine Would Marcel find her again or notSuch is a day at the beach in The Adventure of a Reader There are other Adventures here of a Soldier of a Bather of a Clerk of a Photographer of a Traveler of a Nearsighted Man of a Poet Twenty eight stories in all very simply told like fables There are stories of War and what happens after War We walk through mine fields and are taken as a partisan back to headuarters A German soldier tries to take one animal after another from the Animal Woods I have him in the sights of a rifle and I am a very bad shot It is relatively easy to break in to commit A Theft in a Pastry Shop harder to leaveLooking up and looking down What parts were real I would like to think I would have put the book down when the other bathers left unlike Amedeo who made love to the woman in the cove while holding a finger in his ever turning book so he wouldn t lose his place But perhaps you are like me and never really put the book down It would be something of a misnomer to categorise this loose collection of short stories as novellas on love the stories mainly concentrate on vaguely diffident young and middle aged men who are seeking some form of ratification whether it be romantic love the ratification of finishing a book whilst being harangued by an attractive woman on a beach or of living la dolce vita in RomeCalvino suffuses his style with a sense of lightness and poetry his words caress the page and the images he conjures delight the reader if I was to think of a word which categories Calvino s style it would be whimsy as whiffs of beauty are interspersed with the uotidian concerns of the nonentities who populate his novel the ephemeral flickers of beauty which the characters experience serve to ignite the melancholy of his narrators The sky could be seen above the roof no longer limpid but bleached covered by An Opaue Patina As opaue patina as Gnei s memory and opaue whiteness was wiping out every memory of sensations and the presence of the sun was marked by a vague still patch of light like a secret pang of riefThese flickers of beauty are interspersed with the long often rambling studies of the narrator s inner lives Whether it is Gnei and the one night stand which rouses him out of his stupor but whose excitement he is unable to articulate to anybody so Calvino does it for him or the idle and somewhat hopeless brothers Ampelio and uinto and their financial dealings with the sly and vituperative Caisotti there is little aim or meaning to Calvino s stories outside of the emotional journeys which the characters شرح جامع مثنوى معنوى go on the stories act as exercises or Calvino to demonstrate his story telling abilities and his creativity blank canvasses which Calvino is able to paint with his wonderful imagination and uninimitable eyeNow he was onuard as if every degree of perfection that nature around him achieved a decanting of the blue of the water a languishing of the coast s The New Song: For the Sunday School, Societies of Christian Endeavor, and Other Religious Exercises (Classic Reprint) green intoray the flash of a fish s fin at the very expanse where the sea was most smooth were only heralding another higher degree and so on the point where the invisible line of the horizon would part like an oyster revealing all of a sudden a different planet or world Calvino to the power of four this volume includes not one but four of the writer s short story collections covering distinct periods of both the country and the author s development We begin with childhood and innocence youngsters basking in a Riding Hard goldenlow of prewar idyllic rural seaside existence Riviera Stories we are expelled from the Garden of Eden by the cruelties and Ales from his Difficult Loves collection this volume also includes Smog and A Plunge into Real Estat.
THE TWIN PIECES OF HER SWIMSUIT TO CATCH THE
Italo Calvino Þ 8 SummaryRs It felt a bit like an album with a few tracks too many But this is Calvino Even a sub par Calvino isn t worth pressing the skip button for Calvino was one of the master tricksters of 20th century literature an author who builds an imaginary stage of words around the reader until the reader almost becomes the protagonist themselves Difficult Loves is split into four sections Riviera Stories is a series of nostalgic vignettes of childhood and adolescence set to backdrop of rural Italy and the magical richness of the Mediterranean Enchanted Gardens playing with toads that sort of thing Wartime Stories sees Calvino focus on WW2 These were fatalistic evocations of the unglamorous and deadly aspects of life during wartime foraging for food crossing a minefield running messages for the Resistance One story tells of the worst shot in the village hunting down a German soldier in the forests which felt like a mini neo folktale leading to Calvino to compile the Italian Folktales Postwar Stories features a black market money changer whose wife is mistaken for a prostitute whilst another briefly looks at the break in of a bakery which sees the perpetrators stuff there faces with various pastries Arguably some of the best were saved until last Stories of Love and Loneliness written in the fifties sees Calvino slowly began to break from realism for the richer depths of philosophy myth and fantasy These stores are all similarly titled Adventure of a Including Soldier Bather Photographer and traveller All explore similar ideas with brief moments of universal comprehension and ignorance arising from everyday life We see a man on train who meets a woman yes just like in the movies and another tells of the embarrassing moment when a female bather somehow manages to lose her swimsuit in the sea WhoopsCalvino is as interested in how we mean something as in what we mean In his world a ship can show the truth like a book and a pair of Arabian Challenge glasses can block recognition better than a wall From an adolescent child courting withifts from natures treasure chest to a modest clerk fresh from a one night stand the characters of Difficult Loves scurry about their lives searching for human communication More than 75% of the stories I felt were in the 45 bracket along with two or three duds so a four is about right My Real LifeThis is a collection of short stories that Italo Calvino wrote over about ten years following World War IIThe four discrete sections were originally published in separate volumes However what stands out about the collection is the organic rowth that occurs over the duration of the storiesIn effect we see boys rowing into men and Der Verlorene Koffer: A Graded Reader for Beginning Students girlsrowing into women And Calvino ILLERAMMA Kathalu growing into an artistEven though Calvino had just experienced the war it seemed to be important that he document childhood first almost as if the war hadn t occurred Childhood seemed too on regardless of what was happening around itThe conseuences of war really only became apparent when the boys were old enough to play a role even one as responsible as shooting the real enemy with American Literature Student Text guns that once would have been used to kill that evening s mealMy Real Life FabulisedThe first part of this collection the Riviera Stories was written shortly after WWII but documents a period in the lives of teenaged boys when they are just starting to encounterirls and women outside their own families There s a sense of innocence meeting experienceThe second part Wartime Stories also written after the war but later than the Riviera Stories as if Calvino had to impose order on his memories in the right order updates the stories to the time of wartime resistance to the Fascists and Nazis Boys and men Cheyenne: A Sweet Historical Romance grow up and encounter life and death challenges including the evil that men so than women do to each other These stories are eually subtle but moralistic They come close to fables or fairy talesTh There was a time when I thought my purpose in life was to encourage as many people as possible to read Calvino I bought this book for someone once and they said that the problem with it was that it had all these men and all they had to do was look at women and the women would have sex with them To which the only answer is that it is a work of fiction and it is written by a manIf this was all the book was about it would not be worth reading but these short stories are a real delight My favourite is the story of the short sighted man a manoes back to the village he left as a young man The tradition is to walk in two lines so as to essentially pass everyone in the village as you walk But He Has Recently he has recently a pair of The Battle of Maldon and Other Old English Poems glasses if he does not wear thelasses everyone recognises him and wave to him but they are little than blurs when he puts the lasses on no one recognises him at allAnd like any work by Calvino there no one recognises him at allAnd like any work by Calvino there always the knife twist waiting when you least expect it These are light stories but by Calvino so a delight all the same Calvino s prose is among the best I ve read Effortless fluid beauty He infuses the most normal situations with a God like race and reminds us that we are to other humans is how we are as humans how our interactions with others is a reflection of our uirks prejudices inadeuacies and passions The best thing about this collection of stories is how rewarding they are on repeated reads initially dense prose ives way to light colour and details of pretty awe inspiring clarity Although full of highlights The adventure of the poet is a masterclass where he expertly draws a contrast between the ritty palpable details of ugliness with the dreamlike transitory and elusive expressions of beauty He makes us see why embracing the ugly side of nature is sometimes unavoidable but also reminds us that human tenderness although never permanent is very much alive Che bella People will forget what you said People will forget what you did But people will never forget how you made them feel You Mr Calvino I ll never forget how this book made me feel An immensely Girl on the Verge gifted writer Calvino displayed hisenius in this collection by plucking the ignored or trivial fragments of moments we experience at one point or another in our lives and weaved them together to present these Women and Alcohol in a Highland Maya Town: Water of Hope, Water of Sorrow Revised Edition gems of short stories How vividly he captured the minute happenings around us and served us some riveting tales makes me revered in awe of him There is some confusion in regards to the edition of this book as Iathered from other reviews here that most of them have read the edition containing following four partsRiviera Stories Wartime stories Post war stories and Stories of Love and LonelinessMine edition however has three sections namely Difficult loves Stories of Love and Loneliness Smog and A Plunge into Real EstateDifficult Loves is the highlight of this collection containing 11 short stories ranging between 4 10 pages and every single one of them wowed me by their brevity and impactful writing And kindly don t compare this book with Italo s other works like If on a winters night or Invisible Cities There is no wild imagination on display here but rather simple accessible writing about simple people With each story Calvino The Quickie (Sexy and Short Erotica Story) gracefully unearths the most complicated emotions buried deep inside various characters and talks about loves that are difficult to embrace in the world driven by conventions and morals A married woman desires to have aood time without her husband a reader who wants to read just read a near sighted man s adventure to adjust and accept the inevitable changes a piece of accessory brought to his personality and conseuently his life a photographer who wants to capture every single moment in his camera so on and so forth The underlying theme remains the same Love Love for someone and for something and difficulty to proclaim that love and carrying on one s life with or without such proclamationSmog revolves around a man who re locates to a different city which has for
long been victimized of industrial pollution and how he ot usedbeen victimized of industrial pollution and how he ot used the so called polluted air around him and conseuently made him see the difference between human beings he had known for life and those whom he had known for a short period of time and how in the process he started noticing things he had long ignored throughout his life Calvino has beautifully captured the love story between two characters which again is not according to the conventional standards of love A passage I particularly liked In other words I loved her And I was unhappy But how could she understood this unhappiness of mine There are those who condemn themselves to the most The witchfinder gray mediocre life because they have suffered some misfortune but there are also those who do the same thing because theirood fortune is Successful Interview Skills: How to Present Yourself with Confidence greater than they feel they can sustain A Plunge into Real Estate depicts the story of a family who in order to better their economic conditionsets involved in business with a real estate agent and how uinto the protagonist started experiencing the implication of material world in his life This story in my opinion is a The Enlightened Organization general. And masterfully illustrates Calvino's uniue perspective and narrativeifts As well as the eleven