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Calvino, Italo

world novel italy

(Italian, 1923–85)

Born in Cuba, Calvino grew up in Italy, settling in Turin, after working for the Resistance during the Second World War. His first novel, The Path to the Nest of Spiders (1947), was realistic. Thereafter he turned to allegory and experimentation. His status as one of Italy's greatest writers was confirmed by the acclaim which met the fantasy, The Baron in the Trees (1957), in which a nineteenth-century nobleman opts to pursue life without ever setting foot on the ground. The story examines the meeting-points of reality and imagination. The concertina of fictions which make up If on a Winter's Night a Traveller (1979) is a teasing and profound investigation of the experience of reading a faulty novel. Like Cosmicomics (1969), a surreal, scientific and metaphysical account of the world's creation in twelve chapters, Calvino's inspired plot, mixing a variety of pastiches, is extraordinarily delicate and witty.

Angela Carter, Milan Kundera, Jorge Luis Borges. See MAGIC REALISM  AM

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