Last Comes the Raven
Italo Calvino, Archibald Colquhoun, Peggy Wright, Ann Goldstein, Ben Johnson, William Weaver
These early short stories brim with the beauty of the Italian countryside and seaside, telling tales both sumptuous and unnerving.
Calvino’s war-torn Italy is vivid, intense, almost hyper-real. A trio of greedy burglars rob a pastry shop, a boy offers a girl presents of toads and insects from the garden, a wealthy family invites a rustic goatherd to lunch, only to mock him. In every story he reveals the hidden meaning beneath the surface of everyday life, and the ludicrousness of war.
Some stories from Last Comes the Raven have been previously available in the collection Adam, One Afternoon. This new expanded collection includes several stories newly translated by Ann Goldstein and is an important addition to Calvino’s legacy.
‘In Last Comes the Raven, a collection of early stories, we find the man behind the magician’ New Yorker
In these beautifully translated stories, the quality of the writing emerges as clearly as do the ease and range of his inventiveness. Calvino's special gift is to link the physical and immediate with an allegorical timelessness. All the characters and creatures in these stories conspire to convey a feeling of the wonder, mystery and terror of life * Guardian * Calvino's strength is his economy and subtlety. The best of his allegorical fantasies have the power of the Brothers Grimm, rollicking stories on the surface, with an underlying savagery * Listener * Calvino was drawn to narratives as pure and potent objects; in this collection, he examines but does not deconstruct them . . . There is the author's trademark ironic distance and careful wit, as well as tinges of surrealism. But, where the mature Calvino found a style that was supremely arch, alien, and spare, his more mimetic stories retain the funk of the human . . . The reader of Last Comes the Raven registers a bloom of social feelings: sympathy, recognition, curiosity * New Yorker *
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