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Marcovaldo or The Seasons in the City by…

Marcovaldo or The Seasons in the City (1963)

by Italo Calvino

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (10)  Italian (4)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
These twenty delightful and somewhat silly parable-esque tales follow small notable events of each season over five years of the life of Marcovaldo, a poor unskilled labourer everyman who yearns for beauty and nature yet is constantly disappointed, his utopic expectations subverted by the gross reality of modernity. Its simple nature belies how well-written and thoughtful the short narratives are as each tackles the many often-conflicting themes of modern life. ( )
  kitzyl | Mar 5, 2019 |
Like Borges, Calvino's metier was the short form - short stories and novellas. Even his "novels" - 'If on a Winter's Night a Traveller', 'The Castle of Crossed Destinies' 'Invisible Cities' - are short story collections underneath the skin. This is no exception. It falls into that category of collected tales relating incidents from the daily lives of their central character - 'Mr Palomar', 'Cosmicomics', arguably - that are at once mundane and fantastic.

Marcovaldo is from peasant stock, transplanted to the industrial city - I'm guessing Turin - there to live in poverty with his young family in half-basements and garrets and to work in a packing factory. And herein lies the tension, as the country boy chases after those echoes of his former life to be found in the metropolis. There are no weak tales among the twenty collected here but I had favourites, inevitably. Like many of these tales, 'A Journey with the Cows' is a mini-picaresque with a powerful moral. 'The Wrong Stop' follows a similar path, featuring a heartbreaking and beautiful opening paragraph and a fantastical ending. They're tales of the unexpected in which the unexpected turns out to be not macabre but comic and surreal.

Starting with 1952's 'The Cloven Count' and ending with 1983's 'Mr Palomar', I can't think of a more outstanding body of work in modern literature. The human insights, the humour, the sumptuous descriptions, the stylistic innovations and enormous imaginative power - Calvino's oeuvre is genuinely inspirational to both the adventurous reader and the writer. ( )
  PZR | Jul 28, 2018 |
Bittersweet comedies of error which pit man against nature/human nature in an unnamed Italian city in the 60s and 70s. ( )
  michaeljoyce | Dec 4, 2017 |
This is a rather intriguing work, but I fear much is lost in translation. Touches of mid-century Italian comedy are evident, but I daresay there is more than meets the eye. A better knowledge of mid-century Italy would be useful to better understand the subtle messages of urbanisation and the peasant mind. Calvino was rather prolific so with a little research and some more reading, I hope to glean the deeper purpose of this author. ( )
  madepercy | Nov 7, 2017 |
Un libro imprescindible para recuperar la confianza en la raza humana y el sentido común en tiempos de crisis. ( )
  naturaworld | Aug 12, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (61 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Italo Calvinoprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cavino, ItaloIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kapari, JormaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weaver, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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De wind brengt, wanneer hij van ver de stad binnen waait, vreemde geschenken met zich mee, die alleen worden opgemerkt door enkele gevoelige zielen, zoals mensen met hooikoorts, die niezen van het stuifmeel van bloemen uit andere streken.
Il vento, venendo in città da lontano, le porta doni inconsueti, di cui s'accorgono solo poche anime sensibili, come i raffreddati del fieno, che starnutano per pollini di fiori d'altre terre.
Prefazione seria e un po' noiosa d'un libro che non vuol essere tale, ragion per cui i nostri lettori possono benissimo saltarla (ma se qualche professore volesse leggerla vi troverà alcune istruzioni per l'uso).
The wind, coming to the city from far away, brings it unusual gifts, noticed by only a few sensitive souls, such as hay-fever victims, who sneeze at the pollen from flowers of other lands.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0156572044, Paperback)

Marcovaldo is an unskilled worker in a drab industrial city in northern Italy. He is an irrepressible dreamer and an inveterate schemer. Much to the puzzlement of his wife, his children, his boss, and his neighbors, he chases his dreams-but the results are never the expected ones. Translated by William Weaver. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:55 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

An unskilled worker in a drab northern Italian industrial city of the 1950s and 1960s, Marcovaldo has a practiced eye for spotting natural beauty and an unquenchable longing to come a little closer to the unspoiled world of his imagining. Much to the puzzlement of his wife, his children, his boss, and his neighbors, he chases his dreams, gives rein to his fantasies, tries-with more ingenuousness than skill-to lessen his burden and that of those around him. The results are never the anticipated ones.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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