Synopses & Reviews
“This book deals both with a transition from adolescence into youth and with a move from peace to war: as for very many other people, for the protagonist of this book ‘entry into life’ and ‘entry into war’ coincide.” — from the Author’s Note
These three stories, set during the summer of 1940, draw on Italo Calvino’s memories of his own adolescence during the Second World War, too young to be forced to fight in Mussolini’s army but old enough to be conscripted into the Italian youth brigades. The callow narrator of these tales observes the mounting unease of a city girding itself for war, the looting of an occupied French town, and nighttime revels during a blackout. Appearing here in its first English translation, Into the War is one of Calvino’s only works of autobiographical fiction. It offers both a glimpse of this writer’s extraordinary life and a distilled dram of his wry, ingenious literary voice.
“All three stories attest to the potentially magical, transformative space of adolescence . . . The seeds of the later Calvino — the fabulist who worked profound moral and ethical points into his narratives — are all here.” — Joseph Luzzi, Times Literary Supplement
Three senses-taste, hearing, and smell-dominate the lives of the characters in these witty, fantastical stories. But the senses, promising the fulfillment of desire and an exit from the self, only lead back to their source: the savoring palate, the listening ear, the smelling nose. “A sumptuous small gem of a book” (Publishers Weekly). Translated by William Weaver. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
One of Italy's greatest and most popular writers offers three witty, fantastical stories, each dominated by one of three senses--taste, hearing, or smell.
Appearing here in its first English translation, Into the War contains three stories drawing on Italo Calvino's memories of the Second World War in Italy.
“The thought . . . called up the flavors of an elaborate and bold cuisine, bent on making the flavors’ highest notes vibrate, juxtaposing them in modulations, in chords, and especially in dissonances that would assert themselves as an incomparable experience.” — From Under the Jaguar Sun
These intoxicating stories delve down to the core of our senses of taste, hearing, and smell. Amid the flavors of Mexico’s fiery chiles and spices, a couple on holiday discovers dark truths about the maturing of desire in the title story, “Under the Jaguar Sun.” In “A King Listens,” a gripping portrait of a frenzied mind, the menacing echoes in a huge palace spur a tyrant’s thoughts to the heights of paranoid intensity. “The Name, the Nose” drives to a startling conclusion as men across time and space pursue the women whose aromas have enchanted them. Mordant and deliciously offbeat, this trio of tales is a treat from a master of short fiction.
“[Calvino is] a learned, daring, ingeniously gifted magus . . . Under the Jaguar Sun . . . fuses fable with neuron . . . The reader is likely to salivate.” — Cynthia Ozick, New York Times Book Review
About the Author
ITALO CALVINO’s superb storytelling gifts earned him international renown and a reputation as “one of the world's best fabulists” (New York Times Book Review). He is the author of numerous works of fiction, as well as essays, criticism, and literary anthologies. Born in Cuba in 1923, Calvino was raised in Italy, where he lived most of his life. At the time of his death, in Siena in 1985, he was the most translated contemporary Italian writer.