I spent the better half of last weekend on the beach reading this book, which was left behind in the house where I was staying It consists of a series of provocative vignettes that approach memoir, or memory exercises as Calvino called them I re read many of the masterful sentences in this collection, impressed obsessed, even with the powerful ideas underlying it.
Calvino plays with the very idea of memoir, and of memory itself When he recalls a battle, he begins with an extended metaphor of memories as sediment buried under a riverbed He acknowledges the problems inherent in unearthing them To explain his memories of war would be to bury them again under the sedimentary crust of hindsight, the kind of reflections that put things in order and explain everything according to the logic of past history This seems the defining problem of collective memory, or history, as professors like to call it Calvino also struggles to represent figures from his past In the title exercise, he describes his father, who espoused vast botanical knowledge Instead of the taxonomical names his father taught him, Calvino recalls fantastical names for the plants and then reveals his dilemma about recounting details that he never paid attention to in the first place The problem of personal memory What do we tell ourselves that we remember What do we tell ourselves to remember Another piece recalls his boyhood days at the cinema and how they transformed under fascist rule It is a beautiful, nostalgic essay For me, it s foremost a reflection on how regimes that limit the individual s experience with art can also oppress the imaginative space It reminds us that cinema plays a political role, in helping us to transcend reality, to believe in what lies beyond the physical boundaries of a tangible world.
The artistry of his prose is apparent almost everywhere I am tempted to dwell on his awesome use of free modifiers, what Virginia Tufte would call branching sentences, but I don t want to be a grammar Nazi Calvino was distinctly anti Fascist How much of this is owed to the art of the translator, I can t be sure Even Calvino s father used a different one of his many tongues depending on the topic of conversation He required a certain language to express humor fran ais, mais oui or banality English, of course Is it the translator Tim Parks, for example, who uses the word callow multiple times in one book and what s the word for this in Italian On Fellini, Calvino writes this which I think should be on the great filmmaker s gravestone if it isn t already That is why Fellini manages to disturb us to the core because he forces us to admit that what we would most like to distance ourselves from is what is intrinsically close to us My favorite piece, though, is his 30something page long rumination on garbage bins It overflows with absurd free association For Calvino, the act of emptying dustbins shows that the personal is political it embodies our participation in a system and our acceptance of authority for reasons of convenience A sort of social contract theory centered on garbage, if you will Trash is also existentially relevant we are what we don t throw away And for Calvino, no surprise, it s Marxist What we do along the chain of trash distribution defines our social and economic roles, with the vividness of an orange peel or a scribbled out page.
After reading that one, I fell asleep by the water, dreaming of a time when Calvino lived, so that we might spend an afternoon together not remembering Like an abstract painting, the final vignette places you in a realm of possibility for time and space It is, like most of his work, worth waking up for.
When it comes to Calvino, I d always chose his innovative and magical fiction than anything non fiction, but this book caught my eye, and I do like him a lot, so I took the plunge These five pieces, or memory exercises as so called, do offer some indirect insights into how he conjured up his imaginary stories These writings were collected by his wife, and tell of his difficult relationship with his father, who was a farmer and horticulturist, and had a passion for studying and acclimatizing exotic wildlife which filled the young Calvino with an investigative mind He also recalls his love for cinema, before a graphic account of fighting fascists during the Second World War, that becomes a sort of meditation on the role played by imagination in the human memory There was one piece where he analysis living in a house in a Parisian suburb, which was good The book overall was OK, but nowhere as good as the best of his fiction.
G r yorsunuz, nas l ayr l yordu yollar m z, babam nki ve benimki Ama ben de ok farkl de ildim Arad m yol, t pk onunki gibi, bir ba ka yabanc l n, insan std nyas n n ya da cehenneminin derinlerinden kaz p a a kard m yol de ilse neydi Yar karanl k avlu giri lerinde bir kad n g lgesi, kimi zaman yok oluverirdi orada g zlerimle arad m ey, b t n s z ve ekillerin ger e e, somuta, bir yank n n yank s n n yank s olmaktan k p kendi deneyimime d n t bir d nyaya a lan aral k kap , bak mla ku ataca m sinema perdesi, evirece im sayfa de ilse neydi Sf 18 San Giovanni ye yakla t k a babam gene gerginle irdi bu, kendisinin hissetti i yegane yere bir an nce ula ma arzusunun son bir d avurumu de ildi yaln zca, ayn zamanda sanki oradan onca saat uzakta olman n pi manl , o saatlerde bir eylerin mutlaka yitirilmi ya da bozulmu oldu u kan s , ya am nda San Giovanni olmayan her eyi bir an nce silme iste iydi bir de, San Giovanni d nyan n tamam de il, d nyan n yaln zca bir k esi, kalan her eyin ku att bir k esi oldu undan, bu yerin onun i in her zaman bir umutsuzluk anlam na gelece i duygusu Sf 27 yleyse o zamanlar sinema, bu ba lamda, ne anlama gelmi ti benim i in S yleyeyim uzakl k Bir uzakl k gereksinmesine, ger ekli in s n rlar n yayma, evremde l ye gelmez, geometrik kendilikler gibi soyut boyutlar n ama ayn zamanda somut, kesinlikle y zler, durumlar ve ortamlarda dolu, do rudan deneyimin d nyas yla kendi soyut ili kiler a n kuran boyutlar n a ld n g rme gereksinmesine kar l k geliyordu Sf 46 u k sa mr m zde, her ey orada, beyazperdede ylece durur, kayg verici derecede varl n duyurur ilk sevgi imgeleri ve l m uyar lar her d te bize ula r d nyan n sonu bizimle ba lam t r ve sona erecek gibi de ildir yaln zca seyircisi oldu unu d nd m z film, kendi ya am m z n yk s d r Sf 53 The Road to San Giovanni consists of five memory exercises I found each of these chapters were written in a very different manner and strangely arranged in a sequence from the most sentimental to the most analytic In that, I mean that the first three exercises were descriptions of things that had happened in the author s life, and the last two are commentary based on reflection and analysis The end posts here are mostly written fragments The first exercise, the title story, is long descriptions, often long sentences with thoughts running together, describing the author s childhood taking trips up a mountainside to the family garden There s a lot of description here, but it is run together so as to make reading a chore It s as if the author wanted to save his thoughts as rapidly as possible but using the most poetic wording he could The second exercise describes the author s cinema experiences as a child and young man Here the writing is like a typical short story, and there s than just description some analysis is done concerning things like the impact of poorly dubbing English pictures had on later Italian movies The third exercise concerns remembering a battle in WWII, where the author seems to remember about what happened after some reflection The fourth piece is about garbage cans and the act of disposing household garbage Calvino dives into this one with gusto, and compares the French and Italian methods of garbage disposal, and how society seems to like similar, agreeable garbage containers A fun analysis, but in the end it seems to be just an exercise when it could have been The last bit, called From the Opaque, is indescribable It purports to be about seeing at different levels, but other analogies, like a theater and a landscape, are drawn into the writing This is written as snippets of what I d call pseudo logic, unpunctuated paragraphs of writing that sounds like it was lifted from a philosophical essay This was really overwhelming to deal with since there didn t seem to be a purpose beyond making the snippets of text to look philosophical and academic If that s what he was going for, he got it.
Overall, I found this a mixed bag In general I liked Calvino s writing I did not enjoy the first or last exercises, although at least I found the first to be quite poetic and revealing The middle three bits were most interesting, and closest to publishable essays I found myself agreeing with the reasoning of the essay on garbage, and finding it quite interesting Although I have not read other Calvino books, I suspect this is not a good introduction.
Confesso que terminei o livro com um certo dissabor N o fosse a escrita excelente do Calvino e o poder de imergir o leitor at nas mais estranhas divaga es quantas vezes vemos uma problematiza o sobre o ato de levar o lixo pra fora meu descontentamento com o livro seria maior A proposta me parece interessante, uma colet nea de mem rias e reflex es do autor perdidas ao longo do tempo e reagrupadas na obra Tenho certo apre o por textos com o objetivo de apenas trazer um olhar reflexivo do nosso cotidiano, mas custo acreditar que um leitor n o t o simpatizante acharia a leitura agrad vel Ainda mais levando em conta o estilo do Calvino, com longas senten as e passagens que n o visam concluir um pensamento, mas apenas trazer o leitor para sua livre divaga o Ali s, aqui preciso esclarecer que n o o fa o como uma cr tica negativa ao autor em si, pelo contr rio, as duas outras obras que tive a oportunidade de ler foram viagens maravilhosas, e incluo uma delas Se Um Viajante Numa Noite de Inverno como uma das melhores que j li.
Talvez parte da culpa no descontentamento seja minha pela expectativa que trouxe ao come ar o livro, uma vez que meu contato anterior com as outras obras foi excelente, mas n o consigo deixar de lado a sensa o in cua que fiquei ao terminar de ler Tirando algumas belas passagens, resta pouco de marcante ou para uma verdadeira reflex o A leitura na minha mais humilde opini o vale para o leitor que quer apenas apreciar a escrita do Calvino, mas n o recomendo como primeiro contato, visto que a experi ncia pode ser um tanto ma ante e afastar os leitores de um autor t o incr vel.
A Major Testament By An Essential Th Century Writer Composed Of Five Strikingly Elegant Memory Exercises About His Life And Work Now Available In Paperback With Visionary Passion, The Author Traces Pieces Of His Childhood And Adolescence, His Experiences During WWII, And Storytelling At Its Best Chicago Tribune The first two memory exercises were amazing The first is a piece of his father walking to and from the fields The second essay was about watching American films as a kid in Fascist Italy Wonderful The third piece, about not really rememberinga battle during WW2 was good The last two were so dull I don t even remember them Weigh it all out, and it is worth a good deal for the good parts Kitapta yazar n be farkl konuda yazm oldu u metinler derlenmi Kendisiyle y zle me notlar olarak da adland rabiliriz Konu itibariyle beni ok etkilemedi i i in kitab n i ine bir t rl giremedim Baz kitaplar okuman n ger ekten zaman oldu unu d n yorum Yaln zca seyircisi oldu unu d nd n z film, kendi ya am m z n yk s d r.