- Reading level: 14+ years
- Paperback: 217 pages
- Publisher: Thomson Learning; 1 edition (28 March 1977)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0156106809
- ISBN-13: 978-0156106801
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,11,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Baron in the Trees (Harbrace Paperbound Library, 72) Paperback – 28 Mar 1977
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Text: English, Italian (translation)
About 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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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Italo Calvino imagines Cosimo, a boy from a family of minor nobles of the late 18th Century who one day takes to the trees in an act of rebellion against his family, vowing never to set foot on the Earth again. He keeps his promise, traveling to foreign lands, falling in love, corresponding with Voltaire and Diderot and other great minds of his day, participating in the intellectual and the revolutionary movements. Cosimo's younger brother narrates the story of how the young baron took to the trees, and what became of him.
Italo Calvino uses his gifts in storytelling and description to create a world in which a preposterous notion becomes commonplace. The most preposterous characters and events can seem ordinary as Calvino describes them. Cosimo's mother, a German woman known as "the Generalessa," spend her time doing embroidery, but not of the sort you'd expect. "The lace and embroidery were usually in the designs of geographical maps; our mother would stretch them over cushions or tapestry and stick in pins and tiny flags, showing the disposition of battles in the Wars of Succession, which she knew by heart..."
There is also Battista, the sister of Cosimo and our narrator, "a kind of stay at home nun," confined to the castle after a questionable encounter with a young noble, who dresses in a nun's wimple and takes her revenge on the family by preparing exquisite yet inedible dishes. Cosimo's uncle (the illegitimate brother of the Duke) dresses in Turkish robes and a fez and busies himself looking after the legal affair of the family and making complex plans for canals and hydraulic systems that will never be built. Next door is a family with whom Cosimo's family has been feuding, and they have a young daughter- but beyond that you'll have to read the book for yourself.
This is Calvino at his best, the teller of fabulous tales and a crafter of exquisite sentences who can catapult the reader far up into the trees, and beyond.
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