|Digital List Price:||$12.99|
|Print List Price:||$13.95|
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Marcovaldo: Or the Seasons in the City (Helen and Kurt Wolff Books) Kindle Edition
|Length: 130 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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It was nearly fantasy... I felt like we followed Calvino (and ourselves) through the troubled life of adulthead beset by bills, sickness, and the search for food with the uninhibited joy of a child. Marcovaldo's family - even Marcovaldo himself - were simply props the author used to describe the world around him as it was and as he wished to see it. No permanent ills ever befall the family; in fact nothing solid really changes from story to story. We simply are gifted with the ability to see the city through someone else's eyes.
This was an escapist book. A delightful diversion that read incredibly quickly and really didn't require too much of me as a Reader. Everything was simply laid bare. It was easy, at times, to identify with Marcovaldo as an adult, ("Oh, if I could wake just once at the twitter of birds and not at the sound of the alarm and the crying of little Paolino and the yelling of my wife, Domitilla!") but this really felt more like an exercise in getting back in touch with the wonderment, joy, and excitement the world can bring to a child whose experiences do not yet encompass the normality and boredom of every day life. Aside from the story of the rabbit, for whom I wept silently, these stories just related the beauty of being alive, even in the harshest of times. I really couldn't put this down, not because there was any underlying plot pushing me forward but because I wanted to continue living life through the eyes of a child for just a little while longer. I wish it hadn't ended, but when it did, I was smiling.
Structure around the seasons of the year in a five year cycle, this Pythagorean world is perfect for Calvino to test his theory of time and place while at the same time providing an oblique commentary on politics, cultural mores etc. in a pattern so familiar to those familiar with his work.
Whether he is breeding rabbits, hunting for mushrooms, fishing, the troubles of Macrovaldo always entertain and usually surprise the reader. The inevitable tension between the urban world and the Arcadian aspirations of Macrovaldo are typically Calvino's. It is curious to note how Calvino has surreptitiously influenced much of the more serious Italian film makers.
This is definitely something I'll reread in the future, and I can see myself upping the stars I've given it after a reread.
First off, Calvino's prose is beautiful. It's whimsical and then suddenly grounded, and always conjures a rich world and mood, with hints of magical realism.
There's no overarching storyline. You cycle through the seasons with Marcovaldo, with each season having its own tale. Marcovaldo is an impoverished menial laborer whom you track through his various escapades to "lessen his burden and that of those around him" (as the back of the book cover says). All of these ultimately fail in simultaneously hilarious and saddening ways. Calvino explores consequences of industrialism, nuances to family relationships (Marcovaldo's wife and children are featured in most of the stories), the helplessness of the individual (but without the depressing air such ponderings often bear), and the individual's perpetual attempt to find meaning and beauty.
My favorite is the season of the poisonous rabbit (one not-so-fair autumn). Marcovaldo and the rabbit are both characters who are acutely very universally human. The juxtaposition of dissapointment/despair and humor/hope here, while also quite characteristic of the other stories in the book, had the greatest impact on me.