The Road to San Giovanni

The Road to San Giovanni

by Italo Calvino
     
 

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“In each other’s presence we became mute, would walk in silence side by side along the road to San Giovanni. To my father’s mind, words must serve as confirmations of things, and as signs of possession; to mine, they were foretastes of things barely glimpsed, not possessed, presumed.” —from The Road to San Giovanni

Overview

“In each other’s presence we became mute, would walk in silence side by side along the road to San Giovanni. To my father’s mind, words must serve as confirmations of things, and as signs of possession; to mine, they were foretastes of things barely glimpsed, not possessed, presumed.” —from The Road to San Giovanni
 
In these autobiographical essays, published after Italo Calvino’s death, the intellectually vibrant writer not only reflects on his own past, but also inquires into the very workings of memory itself. From the title essay’s lyrical evocation of the author’s relationship with his father, and a charming account of teenage years spent in the glow of the cinema screen, to Calvino’s reminiscences of his experiences in the Italian Resistance during World War II and of his years in Paris, to his declaration of purpose as a writer in the final essay’s visionary fragments, these five “memory exercises” are heartfelt, affecting, and wise.
 
“Brimming with Calvino’s beautifully crafted prose, dry humor, and continual questioning . . . Calvino has been very well served by his translator, Tim Parks.” —Observer

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In five elegant ``memory exercises'' written between 1962 and 1977, Italian fiction writer Calvino (1923-85) presents an affecting self-portrait and offers indirect insights into how he conjured up his imaginary worlds. He writes of his difficult relationship with his father, a farmer and horticulturist whose passion for studying and acclimatizing exotic plants filled the future writer with an investigative spirit. Calvino ( The Baron in the Trees ) also recalls his adolescent movie mania, when watching the silver screen ``satisfied a need . . . for the projection of my attention into a different space.'' His graphic account of fighting fascists during WW II becomes a meditation on the role played by imagination in human memory. One essay is an informal structuralist analysis of living in a house in a Parisian suburb. This sparkling translation concludes with Calvino's lyric, metaphorical, highly elliptical description of his creative process. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"Calvino possesses the power of seeing into the deepest recesses of human minds and then bringing their dreams to life."--Salman Rushdie.

"Storytelling at its best."--Chicago Tribune

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544146525
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
12/16/2014
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
748,382
Product dimensions:
(w) x (h) x 0.42(d)

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Meet the Author

ITALO CALVINO (1923–1985) attained worldwide renown as one of the twentieth century's greatest storytellers. Born in Cuba, he was raised in San Remo, Italy, and later lived in Turin, Paris, Rome, and elsewhere. Among his many works are Invisible Cities, If on a winter's night a traveler, The Baron in the Trees, and other novels, as well as numerous collections of fiction, folktales, criticism, and essays. His works have been translated into dozens of languages.

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