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Cosmicomics Paperback – 4 Mar 1994

6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New edition edition (4 Mar. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330319086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330319089
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 1 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 310,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Italo Calvino was born in Cuba in 1923 and grew up in Italy. He was an essayist and journalist and a member of the editorial staff of Einaudi in Turin. One of the most respected writers of our time, his best-known works of fiction include Invisible Cities, If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, Marcovaldo and Mr Palomar. In 1973 he won the prestigious Premio Feltrinelli. He died in 1985. A collection of Calvino's posthumous personal writings, The Hermit in Paris, was published in 2003.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
In the beginning, there was... Qfwfq? Italo Calvino apparently thought so -- his magical-realist fantasy "Cosmicomics" is one of the two best novels he ever wrote. Enchanting, surreal and whimsical, this is a look at the history of the cosmos that you will never find in any astronomy books.
Qfwfq is an ancient being -- he was a child playing with his family when the matterless void began to produce.... "things." Along with others of his kind, he has lived an immeasurably long lifetime, watching the Big Bang itself -- uniquely described in this case -- and the galaxy form, the earth cool and start to produce life.
And so Qfwfq goes through the ages, with all the rivalries, crushes, lost loves and exciting discoveries that a person experiences in their life (even though his life is uncounted millions long). And behind each of his experiences is a great cosmic event -- the Big Bang itself is caused by a loving aunt-like friend, an adolescent crush follows the moon away from the Earth, a rivalry forms between himself and the nasty Kwgwk, and his first love is doomed by his love of color on Earth's forming surface.
It takes a truly unique imagination to create something like this -- Calvino takes forming planets, whirling galaxies and ultraviolet rays, and gives them a whimsical spin. One moment he is taking your breath away with his descriptions of the Milky Way, the next he's getting smiles for the image of Qfwfq and his pals playing marbles with hydrogen atoms.
It's that mixture of grandeur and innocent whimsy that makes "Cosmicomics" so good. Not to mention, of course, Calvino's talent for poetic prose. In less than a paragraph, he can convey the vastness of the universe; in less than a chapter, he can describe the beauty of primeval Earth. In detail.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Oxford reviewer on 23 Sept. 2004
Format: Paperback
Nothing is ever straight forward in the literary world of Italo Calvino and Cosmicomics is no exception. This collection of surreal imaginings, each one launching off from a pithy scientific statement, anthropomorphise the raw matter of primaeval galaxies into family units, demigods of primitive matter wile away millennia playing marbles with hydrogen atoms, the moon is explored from a boat via a ladder, and a curmudgeon coelacanth seduces his nephew's fiancé. This bizarre, yet beautiful compilation of tales, are much more than pure surrealistic indulgences. They contain within them a delicate undercurrent of social comment woven into each narrative and in many propel the mind of the reader off on a journey to the beginnings of the Earth or even the Universe in a quite unique fashion. What seems to me the best thing about these stories is their wonderful way of inspiring further enquiry. I found myself consulting Darwin and Hawkings after finishing different chapters. This book is quite different from many Calvino stories but has at its core his ubiquitous playful experimentation with narrative. By the way, it is also very amusing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 April 2011
Format: Paperback
Ever since our ancestors started looking into the night sky, the saw patterns and connections between the stars, moons and planets, and used stories and myths to imbue those patterns with meaning and structure. With the big hindsight of the scientific worldview, all those ancient stories may seem quaint and naïve. And indeed, the advent of modern astronomy and astrophysics has greatly enriched and deepened our understanding of the Cosmos. But these wonderful new insights should not be taken in opposition to our imagination when we stare in the sky. And this is the starting point of Italo Calvino's wonderful book "Cosmicomics." It is in a sense a variation on the theme of Cosmos. Each one of the chapters in the book takes a certain scientific fact about the Cosmos, its evolution and the present state, and turns it into an imaginative story with a deeply personal theme. The main protagonist, whimsically named Qfwfq, is present in many forms throughout history of the Cosmos and he narrates its main events through very personal eyes. Many of the stories are love stories of the most imaginative kind, which is not surprising since Calvino is known and excels at that genre. Overall this is a wonderful book that tries to reestablish a very human face of the Cosmos. I highly recommend it.
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