Under the Jaguar Sun

Under the Jaguar Sun

by Italo Calvino
     
 

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“The thought . . . called up the flavors of an elaborate and bold cuisine, bent on making the flavors’ highest notes vibrate, juxtaposing them in modulations, in chords, and especially in dissonances that would assert themselves as an incomparable experience.” — From Under the Jaguar Sun
 
These intoxicating

Overview


“The thought . . . called up the flavors of an elaborate and bold cuisine, bent on making the flavors’ highest notes vibrate, juxtaposing them in modulations, in chords, and especially in dissonances that would assert themselves as an incomparable experience.” — From Under the Jaguar Sun
 
These intoxicating stories delve down to the core of our senses of taste, hearing, and smell. Amid the flavors of Mexico’s fiery chiles and spices, a couple on holiday discovers dark truths about the maturing of desire in the title story, “Under the Jaguar Sun.” In “A King Listens,” a gripping portrait of a frenzied mind, the menacing echoes in a huge palace spur a tyrant’s thoughts to the heights of paranoid intensity. “The Name, the Nose” drives to a startling conclusion as men across time and space pursue the women whose aromas have enchanted them. Mordant and deliciously offbeat, this trio of tales is a treat from a master of short fiction.

“[Calvino is] a learned, daring, ingeniously gifted magus . . . Under the Jaguar Sun . . . fuses fable with neuron . . . The reader is likely to salivate.” — Cynthia Ozick, New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A sumptuous small gem of a book, this volume contains three of the tales on the five senses planned by Calvino, who died last year. Taste, hearing, and smell receive arch and imaginative treatment in language that links every sense to love. The wife and husband of the title story visit Mexico, where they become so enamored of the spicy cuisine that their gasps and raptures are transferred from the bedroom to the dining table. The local religious art and architecture gain deeper meaning for the couple as they become more sensually attuned to the subtlest range of flavors. In ``A King Listens,'' a monarch sits riveted to his throne and paralyzed with fear, trying to hear every fragile sound that reverberates in his palace. Any ``acoustical sign'' may be open to interpretation; even silence and the flow of time are audible, perhaps ominous. Far from the palace walls, a woman's song beckons the king, promising freedom. ``The Name, the Nose'' focuses on the unique scent of a desired female, whether it is the costly product of a parfumerie on the Champs-Elysees, or the rank aroma of a woman asleep in a beery den. The trio provides exquisite fare from one of Italy's masters. (October)
Library Journal
Many 17th-century artists took the five senses as a theme. Calvino revived this idea in these threeof what had been a projected fivestories, each informed by a conscious and comprehensive sensuality. A married couple visiting Mexico savors the spicy cuisine, complexly linked to the carnal preoccupations of both native and colonial religions and to their own erotic complicity. A paranoid despot, fantastically unable to stir from his throne, lives through his hearing. Parallel diachronic strands in the final story point up similarities among a primitive hominid, a 19th-century Parisian dandy, and a London rock musician, all obsessed by the fleeting scent of a femalea scent mingled with the odor of death. Baroque but unforced, these stories whet the appetite for ``sight'' and ``touch''alas, left incomplete at Calvino's death. Patricia Dooley, Univ. of Washinton Lib. Sch., Seattle

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780151928200
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/01/1988
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
96

Meet the Author


ITALO CALVINO’s superb storytelling gifts earned him international renown and a reputation as “one of the world's best fabulists” (New York Times Book Review). He is the author of numerous works of fiction, as well as essays, criticism, and literary anthologies. Born in Cuba in 1923, Calvino was raised in Italy, where he lived most of his life. At the time of his death, in Siena in 1985, he was the most translated contemporary Italian writer.

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