#27 Marcovaldo (Seasons in the City)

This is not one of Italo Calvino's more accessible works. Or maybe it is, and that is why I did not enjoy it as much as Invisible Cities, Castle of Crossed Destinies or If on a Winter's Night a Traveller. There is deep satire and compassion in this work, Marcovaldo is basically a punching bag, his misfortunes becoming the things of dark comedy. There is an almost palpable rage under the surface of this book. The misplaced hope of the main character, trapped by industrialzation and cruelly mocked by fate at every turn, reflects on the reader who on one level responds to the humour but is also left disquieted by the mounting sense of loss. We can laugh at fate's cruelty to Marcovaldo, but something of his hope and innocence evokes empathy. Calvino nods sternly and knowingly at the jaded and the stoic, but prefers to keep company with the rabbits.

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