Books by Italo Calvino

WHY READ THE CLASSICS? by Italo Calvino
Released: Sept. 22, 1999

"Brisk and unpretentiously sophisticated, Calvino's literary essays are invigorating, thought-provoking, and pleasurable reading."
An irrepressibly lively collection of the late Italian novelist's literary criticism. Read full book review >
FANTASTIC TALES by Italo Calvino
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 12, 1997

"Other omissions are equally puzzling, making this an entertaining selection, though hardly a comprehensive or authoritative one."
An attractive compendium of 26 American and European 19th-century tales that was originally published in Italy in 1983, shortly before Caivino's death. Read full book review >
NUMBERS IN THE DARK by Italo Calvino
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 28, 1995

"Middling Calvino but, for all that, a welcome gift we would not willingly have done without."
A fascinating, frustrating posthumous collection of short tales (previously unavailable in English) from the great Italian writer (1923-85), assembled and introduced by his widow, Esther Calvino, and vigorously translated by English novelist and Italophile Parks. Read full book review >
THE ROAD TO SAN GIOVANNI by Italo Calvino
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"For the title piece and the one on Fellini, indispensable; the rest isn't memorable."
Precious little unpublished Calvino (1923-85) remains, and this is some: five slender pieces. Read full book review >
UNDER THE JAGUAR SUN by William Weaver
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 18, 1988

"Not major Calvino in any way."
At his death, Calvino had completed three of a projected five stories concerning the senses, one to each. Read full book review >
SIX MEMOS FOR THE NEXT MILLENNIUM by Italo Calvino
Released: March 1, 1988

"Less gorgeous than one might have expected, but uniformally thoughtful."
The 1985-86 Norton Lectures were Calvino's to deliver; the day before he was to leave Italy for Cambridge, he died. Read full book review >
THE USES OF LITERATURE by Italo Calvino
Released: Oct. 22, 1986

"For a genial browse through world literature with a charming host, these essays could hardly be bettered."
Apart from the oddly utilitarian-minded title, everything in this book by the Italian fantasist is lovable and worthy of attention. Read full book review >
MR. PALOMAR by William Weaver
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 27, 1985

"Luminous, knowing, lovely literature."
The most philosophical of Calvino's works, a set of semi-comic meditations upon infinity undertaken by a nobody/Everyman named Mr. Palomar—who, as his name suggests, would like to be the clearest, adroitest, purest non-participatory observer. . .yet, since he's a man, not a telescope, can't quite pull it off. Read full book review >
DIFFICULT LOVES by Italo Calvino
Released: Oct. 5, 1984

Dazzling early Calvino, stories from the mid-Forties and the Fifties. Read full book review >
MARCOVALDO by William Weaver
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 16, 1983

"Rich with implications about the social milieu, yet far more insistent on fable-like charm than any message: a gentle, small early-Calvino treat, shrewdly translated and agreeably packaged."
In their first English translation and US publication: 20 short sketches written in the early 1950s and mid-1960s, all featuring the hapless aspirations of Marcovaldo, a father, husband, and unskilled laborer in a northern Italian city. Read full book review >
IF ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER by Italo Calvino
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 21, 1981

"But it pulls out straight thereafter—and in all this is a delightful, never too-coy book (yet very Italian and mischievously gestural), a dandy trick done with mirrors that are all but smudgeless."
A romp—a grand Calvino-style romp, complete with a fun-house tilt, a high-gloss (but consistently good-humored) elegance, and a big, telescoping, central conceit. Read full book review >
ITALIAN FOLKTALES by Italo Calvino
SOCIAL SCIENCES
Released: Sept. 2, 1980

"A comprehensive and representative assemblage, then, for those with a specialized interest, but not on a par with the old Borzoi or ongoing Pantheon national collections for out-and-out pleasure."
Though folktales made their literary debut in Italy a century before Perrault appeared in France, the country produced no Brothers Grimm—no master-compiler of popular tales as told. Read full book review >
THE CASTLE OF CROSSED DESTINIES by William Weaver
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 1976

"But this is by no means a pretty picture book: the narrative is lean and clear and an unusual delight."
Italo Calvino is always a surprise, and this slim volume of involuted stories absorbs a medieval sense of superstition and astonishment into its bones. Read full book review >
INVISIBLE CITIES by William Weaver
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1974

"Their communication still represents a leap of faith equal surely to any jump God-ward; only this time it is a social faith in the continued correspondence of our private universes and the prospect of enduring community."
These cities are apparitions — an architecture of pure quality — and they are a triumph of comprehension in a post-modern world. Read full book review >
THE WATCHER AND OTHER STORIES by William Weaver
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 13, 1970

"An amusing, lightly sardonic, barbed assault on self-perpetuating, self-sustaining establistments built by men but now attaining the untouchable elevation of a divine law."
Calvino's serio-comic galactic overview (Cosmicomics — 1968) descends, in these three long stories; to an erratic exploration of human institutions and the priorities of allegiances, which, with a tilt or two, produce some unusual results. Read full book review >
T ZERO by Italo Calvino
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 10, 1969

"But in science fiction he's a sophisticated novelty."
More Cosmicomics (1968) with the same concerns and conceits. Read full book review >
COSMICOMICS by William Weaver
ENTERTAINMENT & SPORTS
Released: July 1, 1968

"MPSLUGetc etc. For science fiction devotees, in any case, clearly the most sophisticated item yet from that genre."
Metaphysical conceits are a thing of the past. Read full book review >
THE NON-EXISTENT KNIGHT and THE CLOVEN VISCOUNT by Italo Calvino
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 15, 1962

"Both are interesting, but lack the basic pity and terror implicit in the most moving kinds of allegory."
These are two new fantasies by the author of The Baron in the Trees (1959) and the first is a little too thin and airy, like its protagonist- Agilulf- a knight who is armour only. Read full book review >
THE BARON IN THE TREES by Italo Calvino
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 15, 1959

"A book for very special tastes."
A marvelous, bizarre, witty, and free-swinging fantasy concerning Cosimo, the eldest son of a noble family, who, in a moment of rebellion, vows to live out his life up in the trees-and does so. Read full book review >