Friday, December 01, 2006

The Baron in the Trees

by Italo Calvino
Rating 2.5/5
The Baron got rave reviews on amazon, but it's not getting those from me. It may have been the wrong time for it to resonate with me, but resonate, it didn't. I never sat down for more than 15 min. at a time, so maybe it was the choppiness that hurt its rating. On the other hand it never pulled me in to read it for longer.

In this fantasy/fable set in the eighteenth century, tells the story of Cosimo, a young Italian nobleman, who rebels against parental authority by climbing into the trees and remaining there for the rest of his life.

There are a few good lines in the book, however.
He understood: that association renders men stronger and brings out each person's best gifts, and gives a joy which is rarely to be had by keeping to oneself, the joy of realizing how many honest decent capable people there are for whom it is worth giving one's best (while living just for oneself very often the opposite happens, of seeing people's other side, the side which makes on keep one's hand always on the hilt of one's sword).

He knew her and so himself, for in truth he had never known himself. And she knew him and so herself, for although she had always known herself she had never been able to recognize it until now.

There can be no love if one does not remain oneself with all one's strength.

Only by being so frankly himself as he was till his death could he give something to all men.


Framed said...

Too bad, the premise sounds really good. I like the idea of a guy who lives in trees. I really had to read that first quote carefully. Maybe because I could be a hermit quite easily. The one about being oneself is ny favorite. How true.

jenclair said...

I guess I won't worry about getting this one any time soon. Still want to read something by Calvino, but I'll look for another title.

nessie said...

I always loved Calvino but had the fortune of reading him in Italian.

Melissa said...

Sounds like me and March. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. :)

Anonymous said...

This is a fantastic, charming read. However, if you're looking for something more from Calvino, I would propose "If on a winter's night a traveler". Truly a life-changing book.