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on 22 March 2002
This is one of the most astounding collections of folk tales ever, better, I would say, than the brothers Grimms'. The flavour of raw, hard peasant life comes through on every page, and very little imagination is needed to transport you back to 17th century taverns where story-tellers spellbound their listeners with these even more ancient stories of ogres, bandits, princes, witches, priests, kings and thieves. Some are ghost stories, meant to curdle the blood, while others are cheery tales of youngest daughters outwitting the bandits and marrying the prince that would charm any child. Some are witty, knowing tales of corrupt priests, or bandits competing with each other for title of best thief. They are all deeply moral, if sometimes heavy on the retribution and revenge. These are earthy, funny, tragic, witty tales which, best of all in my estimation, have not been "tidied up", censored for sex or violence, or otherwise bowdlerized. Whether for reading to children or out of academic anthropological interest, these cannot be beat.
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on 6 December 2000
Calvino's folktales are a wonderful assortment of simple stories. Make-believe for grown ups, most of the tales feature good v's evil, the trusting hero being outwitted by the evil sorcerer, only to rise again and marry the king's daughter- that kind of thing. The happiest book i`ve read.
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on 6 February 2013
Reading Pullman's Griimm Tales he regularly refers to Calvino's vivid and entertaining retellings. Fully agree. Lots in this book and fascinating to make the links to other tales from round the world. Good value.
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on 22 August 2006
Calvino, the consummate allegorical fantasist, set himself the task of collating and documenting what was hitherto an untapped source of oral folk tradition in his adopted homeland. What he discovered was an unsurpassed wealth of folk tales and moral parables, and according to the introduction to this amazing volume, he was soon "possessed by a kind of mania" for collecting and comparing the vast portfolio with which he was presented. What is eminently evident in this collection is the passion which he brings to the retelling of the 200 stories, gilded with his inimitable style and bearing all the hallmarks of his own longer fiction. With a sensitive and intelligent translation that loses none of the almost tactile language of the original, this is truly a modern European classic.
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on 3 August 2012
I am a bit of a fairy tail geek and got turned onto this collection by the foreword to the book of The Story-teller by Anthony Minghella.

The stories themselves get a bit samey after a while, which is to be expected, but the sparky style and slightly ironic translation means they remain easy to read.
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on 18 September 2015
Enjoyable, especially the informative introduction
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on 8 November 2015
The book itself is good, but the size of the text in this edition is very small and tiresome to read
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on 20 February 2014
I expected more from Calvino. A master of langauge and story telling, he could do more than give us a pale version of the Grimm brothers.
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on 17 October 2014
Marvelous
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