Anyway, another book. I’ve foisted on you all the works of Italo Calvino (this I know, as I have very few of his books left on my shelves) but I fear I’ve burnt myself out to appreciating him. This month I’ve read The Baron in the Trees (about a nobleman’s son who after a quarrel lives off the ground), The Cloven Viscount (a nobleman is bifurcated by a cannon ball on crusades, and his two halves come back separately), and Invisible Cities (Marco Polo creates fantastical cities for the palace-bound Kublai Khan to appreciate, though they are all in fact aspects of one; Venice.) I’m also still reading, though I might leave it on the partially read pile in my bedroom, The Nonexistent Knight (a suit of armour acts a knight). Invisible Cities is brilliant, short flights of fancy, but then that was this month’s first. The others have got progressively less impressive; I was particularly disappointed by the Baron in the Trees; I think Calvino is a short story writer, and once his imagination is drained in a certain field, only a dull sump is left. The Baron was an odd idea and, for me, it didn’t work. There was a lot for him to do up there in the foliage, but it was mostly the same as what we do down here. So the piece really became a romantic opera-type thing, a Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones piece, which never bore interesting fruit (especially as the more interesting characters, which Calvino has no difficulty creating but problems writing) were sidelined or killed rapidly, and the baron himself was the typical winsomely odd hero. It’d make a good Hollywood movie though, because of the incidental’s humours, and the central love story.
Anyway, must dash – Hallowe’en party to go to, and gotta get tarted up.