Yes, I’ve already finished the first of the books in my TBR Pile Challenge. These short ones are a treat. I wanted to finish off Our Ancestors, a trio of novellas by Italo Calvino. I had read the other two thirds, published separately, right before the end of the year. I really enjoy the way that Calvino plays with storytelling, managing to be simple and ambitious simultaneously. Here is my Goodreads review.
It was on the fifteenth of June, 1767, thata Cosimo Piovasco di Rondo, my brother, sat among us for the last time. And it might have been today, I remember it so clearly. We were in the dining room of our house at Ombrossa, the windows framing the thick branches of the great holm oak in the park. It was midday, the old traditional dinner hour followed by our family, through by then most nobles had taken to the fashion set by the sluggard Court of France, of dining halfway through the afternoon. A breeze was blowing from the sea, I remember, rustling the leaves. Cosimo said: “I told you I don’t want any, and I don’t!” and pushed away his plateful of snails. Never had we seen such disobedience.
From this moment, Cosimo takes to the trees in the garden, and never sets foot on the ground again. In this delightful novella by Italo Calvino, part of the 1001 Books selection Our Ancestors: The Cloven Viscount, The Baron in the Trees, The Non-Existent Knight, the heir to this minor noble family in Liguria lives a life of philanthropy and philosophy among the branches of his village and the neighboring countryside. He is ingenious in finding ways around the practical difficulties of living in the air, and manages to live both apart from the family and community and also firmly connected to them. Calvino comments on many of the large ideas and political movements of the age through the wry narrative which unfolds.
This is a quick, engaging, delightful read!