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The Path to the Spiders' Nests: Revised Editionby Italo Calvino
Italo Calvino joined the Italian Resistance in 1943, and his experiences as a partisan during the final years of World War II helped shape the ideas he would use for his first novel, written four years later at the age of twenty-four. Set in Italy during the war, The Path to the Spiders' Nests is a coming-of-age tale about Pin, an orphaned apprentice who spends his days hanging out at the bar frequented by his prostitute sister. After stealing a pistol from one of his sister's Nazi clientele, the young and alienated Pin endures the ire and indignation of the older boys whose approval he desperately seeks, while he, like Calvino himself, becomes a member of the partisan resistance. Full of humor and simplicity, not quite as fantastical as the Italian master's later books, the story reflects the ardency of youth and the tumults of war.
Synopses & Reviews
Italo Calvino was only twenty-three when he first published this bold and imaginative novel. It tells the story of Pin, a cobbler's apprentice in a town on the Ligurian coast during World War II. He lives with his sister, a prostitute, and spends as much time as he can at a seedy bar where he amuses the adult patrons. After a mishap with a Nazi soldier, Pin becomes involved with a band of partisans. Calvino's portrayal of these characters, seen through the eyes of a child, is not only a revealing commentary on the Italian resistance but an insightful coming-of-age story. Updated to include changes from Calvino's definitive Italian edition, previously censored passages, and his newly translated, unabridged preface--in which Calvino brilliantly critiques and places into historical context his own youthful work--The Path to the Spiders' Nests is animated by the formidable imagination that has made Italo Calvino one of the most respected writers of our time.
"As [Calvino's contemporaries) continue to look for the place where the spiders make their nests, Calvino has not only found that special place but learned how himself to make fantastic webs of prose to which all things adhere." Gore Vidal, New York Review of Books
About the Author
Italo Calvino (1923-1985) was born in Cuba and grew up in San Remo, Italy. He began as an essayist and a journalist but is best known for his fiction, including Invisible Cities, If On a Winter's Night a Traveler, Marcovaldo, and Mr. Palomar.
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