Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cosmicomics - a review

CosmicomicsCosmicomics by Italo Calvino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cosmicomics...my third Calvino. And there I was, the book freshly in my hand, thinking that I had a vague idea of what journey I was about to embark upon. I was wrong.

Borges messed with my mind. Calvino ripped it apart, fucked with it, and gave it back to me. So now, the final page turned and the cover slammed shut, here I am, contemplating what was it that I just finished reading. I know now not to wait too long - Calvino's stories have the tendency to sink deeper, to become more intriguing and less transparent as time progresses.

Cosmicomics defies classification. Part fiction, part science, part scientific theory, and part allegoric fables. He puts humanity in events before humans, emotions in a world without minds. The interactions between characters are phantasmagoric, as are the characters themselves, yet I can relate to all of them. In a way, the stories are profoundly human in their way of touching upon love - an unexplainable phenomenon given the settings.
Where Calvino shines is in the use of language. I can only imagine how beautiful this book must be in Italian, and I almost feel sorry for William Weaver for having to translate this (by the way, I find Mr. Weaver's translations of Calvino most excellent in terms of readability). Even in the mundane, he paints delightful images that spark imagination and bring strange worlds right in front of readers' eyes. The bits of science sprinkled within the text only add to this, rather than taking away from the text.

There were a couple of stories that had me laughing, especially The Light-Years and The Form of Space. Calvino masterfully played with real scientific facts and made them relatable by poking fun at mankind. What was truly amazing about this collection is that, rather than concentrating on facts (as Borges did), Calvino concentrated on characters and their interaction. This, especially, made the stories entertaining and universal.

Sorry for the short review, but I feel at a loss for words.

Cosmicomics is, undoubtedly, the most creative piece of writing I have encountered in my literary explorations. Highly recommended.



View all my reviews

No comments:

Post a Comment