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The Road to San Giovanni (Vintage International) [Paperback]

Italo Calvino

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Book Description

Nov 1994 Vintage International
A major testament by an essential 20th 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 more. "Storytelling at its best."--Chicago Tribune.

Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: SOS Free Stock; Reprint edition (Nov 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679743480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679743484
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,261,401 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.

Product Description


'These autobiographical essays marvellously reconstitute different strata of his past in all the pristine, warm stir of immediacy' Sunday Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Italo Calvino, one of Italy's finest postwar writers, has delighted readers around the world with his deceptively simple, fable-like stories. He was born in Cuba in 1923 and raised in San Remo, Italy; he fought for the Italian Resistance from 1943-45. His major works include Cosmicomics (1968), Invisible Cities (1972), and If on a winter's night a traveler (1979). He died in Siena in 1985.

Tim Parks was born in Manchester in 1954, studied at Cambridge and Harvard, and moved to Italy in 1980, where he lectures on literary translation in Milan. His translations from the Italian include works by Alberto Moravia, Italo Calvino, Roberto Calasso and Antonio Tabucchi. His most recent novels are Europa and Destiny, while his non-fiction encompasses a collection of essays, Adultery and Other Diversions, and an academic work, Translating Style. His account of provincial life in Italy, Italian Neighbours, was an international bestseller.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars surprise 18 April 2000
By courtney J angermeier - Published on
Hmmm, reading the editorial reviews, I had to wonder if it might be time to go back and read this one again. As I consumate Calvino fan, I have to say I was completely dissapointed by the title essay the editors are raving about here; the one about Calvino's old-school agragarian father trying to spark cinema-going Calvino's interest in hauling veggies. The same story is told under the guise of fiction in Difficult Loves under the title of Lazy Sons, and, in my opinion, it was ten times better. I never thought I'd say it, but I was bored. Bored reading Calvino? Can you imagine? Neither could I. The other four essays were delightful and charming. (Personally I was rather fond of the one about the trash.) The writing/memory excercizes reminded me of work that Calvino's long-time friend George Perec put forth in Species of Spaces. They made me think, or rethink, or be intentional about thinking about, memory and space and existence. That's the sort of thing I want and expect from Calvino. Maybe I'm just sulking about that first essay, but I wanted something better, something more like the other essays there. Maybe, since this book was a compilation of Calvino's unpublished work that was printed posthumasly it was merely and editing mistake that allowed such disparate pieces to appear together. Maybe I would have liked that title essay better on it's own. I dunno. While I certainly wouldn't say don't read The Road to San Giovanni, I might caution Calvino fans to let go of some of their expectations before delving in.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Downhill 12 Sep 2009
By KC - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This collections starts off with a bang--the title essay BLEW ME AWAY. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, subsequent essays shrivled in it's shadow. I crapped out before finishing the whole book, second to last essay I think, the one about garbage. If you buy this, do yourself a favor--read it backwards. Probably the way it should have been organized in the first place. If you don't buy this book, do yourself a favor--find the title essay somewhere else.
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning to like Calvino 28 Aug 2013
By William K. Costley - Published on
I read these pieces from last to first, liking the first best because it reminded of the difference between my father & myself.
I hadn't expected to like Calvino, but now I do.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Eclectic Collection 13 Jun 2013
By propertius - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Do not expect unity, simplicity nor homogeneity in this collection of essays in this sadly final work by one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century. Compiled posthumously by the author's widow the book has five excellent reasons for reading. They are the five chapters.

Chapter one, "The Road to San Giovanni" is a reminiscence of the author's relationship with his father and tonw. Chapter two, "A CinemaGoer's Autobiography" concerns itself with the author's youthful fascination with the movies, his perceptions of them his obsession with them and what I find most endearing, his love for American movies (it is worth at least books written by critics of that field). Chapter three, "Memories of a Battle" is a recollection of one of his wartime experiences. Chapter four, "La Poubelle Agreee" ruminates about taking out the trash in Paris. Chapter five "From the Opaque," is a Borges-like concoction concerning his place in the universe, using a mesmerizing array of mathematical, and geometrical ideas in a very experimental exercise.

This book is unique becasue the first four of the chapters are complete in the sense that we do not feel the author would have gone further with them. The final one seems to be the most intriguing, not because it seems to be so obtuse (obtuse angle?), but rather a personal exercise by the author to develop this into a major work and as such, gives us an important glimpse into his creative genius.

This collection is a curious oddity since it his last work and could be a primer for all his works. So if you have not read him, this may be a good starting point. If you are an afficiando of his works, this will enthrall you.
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Books 4 Sep 2010
By Scrambler - Published on
The deprecated article on garbage is absolutely one of my favorites and a reason that I include this book on my short list of memorable books, even ahead of Invisible Cities or Six Memos for the Next Millennium! To each his own, I guess.
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