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Enchanting stories about the evolution of the universe, with characters that are fashioned from mathematical formulae and cellular structures. "Naturally, we were all there, - old Qfwfq said, - where else could we have been? Nobody knew then that there could be space. Or time either: what use did we have for time, packed in there like sardines?" Translated by William Weaver. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book

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Sep 6, 2010

Modern fables but often too much astrophysics

I say that my opinion is suspect. This was my first reading of Calvino and I plan to read more.

I am intrigued by his storytelling. The love stories are wonderful, but I'm not sure of some of Calvino's choices. Is it wise to suggest that all human behavior and prejudice are really versions of laws that govern the entire cosmos? Were prejudices there from the beginning when everyone was squished together? Is this a point he is trying to make, or is it comedy, or is it satirical? Perhaps when I read more of Calvino I can come back and really give an informed opinion of the book.

There were many stories that I thoroughly enjoyed. The first one about a love triangle on the moon was so vivid and wonderfully imagined. The last about the mollusks had beautiful prose, especially when Qfwfq, as a mollusk, suggests that his initial act of "making" something, his shell, was what caused everything else in the world to be made. "Without Colors" was wonderfully told as well.

Sometimes I would get lost in the explanations of the physics of the cosmos, i.e. the curvature and expansion of the universe. I know so little about it, and I fear that some of Calvino's points in this regard were lost on me.

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