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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 28 Dec. 2011
This review is from: The Path to the Spiders' Nests (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
The Path to the Spiders' Nests is a novel set in North Western Italy during the Second World War. It centres on the main character, and narrator, Pin, a young boy whom, through his experiences, transcends from childhood into adolescence. It was Calvino's first novel, and he realised the importance of writing that first novel. He claims, writing in the preface: "Before you write your first book, you posses that freedom to begin writing that can be used only once in your life. The first book already defines you while you are fact still far from being defined." This is true of any novelist, of course. Calvino, though, does let the character wander aimlessly meeting different people with no real function.
The Spider's nests, or so he believes, is where he stores a gun that he stole from a German soldier in an attempt to be accepted by the older people. Pin is a tragic character; he has no parents and lives only with his prostitute sister, whom later turns into a German aide. To understand the book, I feel, you have to understand Italy's role during the Second World War, and the economic state of the country, whilst occupied by Germans. Calvino, also, writes candidly about the role of Italian Neo-realism, brought about after the fall of Mussolini - and that theme of the poor and Working Class people of Italy is certainly evident within this novel.
This is a sad but funny book which I'm sure most people will enjoy.
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