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The Watcher and Other Stories (Harbrace Paperbound Library)

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Ultimately, my perseverance was rewarded, but I still would not recommend this to someone who doesn't already know and appreciate Calvino's better known works. It’s amazing to me that the basic archetypes and situations are still literally relevant to today’s world. Esse é o tipo de livro que me comprova o potencial dos clássicos: com 96 páginas, SÓ 96 páginas, o cara tratou do retorno à democracia numa Itália pós-fascista, dos questionamentos do protagonista que pertence ao Partido Comunista com relação a seu posicionamento político, do relacionamento que ele tem com a companheira, de todos os envolvidos no processo de eleições (de mesários a eleitores). His style is not easy to classify; much of his writing has an air reminiscent to that of fantastical fairy tales ( Our Ancestors, Cosmicomics), although sometimes his writing is more "realistic" and in the scenic mode of observation ( Difficult Loves, for example). In fact, ever since the vote had become obligatory in the period following the Second World War, hospitals, asylums, and convents had served as great reservoirs of votes for the Christian Democrat party, and at Cottolengo, above all, at each election instances were discovered of idiots being led to vote, or dying old women, or men paralyzed with arteriosclerosis, in any case, people unable to make logical distinctions.

At times the world’s complexity seemed to Amerigo a superimposition of clearly distinct strata, like the leaves of an artichoke; at other times, it seemed a clump of meanings, a gluey dough. In politics, as in every other sphere of life, there are two important principles for a man of any sense: don’t cherish too many illusions, and never stop believing that every little bit helps.This collection of three long stories by the author of Cosmicomics "demonstrates clearly his talent for transforming the mundane into the marvelous" ( The New York Times ). There's so much interesting thought and writing in "The Watcher," but it was really hard for me to read the way the narrator thought about the disabled folks around him as sub-human. Even “normal” people run the gamut from anger, suspicions and complaints about spots on their ballot, to those who are gleeful about the process. Specializing in modern first editions, literature in translation, Fantasy and Science fiction, Mystery, Mythology/Folklore and Natural History. An amusing story, the allegorical context of the "Argentine Ant" could be applied, with a bit of imagination, to any social situations facing a modern society today.

The Watcher deals with our protagonist "watching" the voting procedures in a home for invalids/deranged/etc. His mother, who runs a motel after having been deserted by the boy’s American father, warns him about “bonking” one of the guests. Like Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel Garcìa Márquez, Italo Calvino dreams perfect dreams for us" (John Updike, New Yorker).The longest story, “Cockfighter,” is an astonishing coming-of-ager about feisty Ladda, 15, who watches as her father, once the best cockfighter in town, loses his status, money, and dignity to Little Jui, 16, a meth addict whose father is the local crime boss. A strong three stars; I really liked these scenarios and stories and the perspective Calvino brings, they just fall into the same bleak / miserable / misanthropic zone that makes it tough for me to get into Beckett and Nabakov and such. To reach the polls where he was to act as an election watcher, Amerigo followed a series of narrow, arcaded streets, still paved with old cobblestones, along the walls of humble buildings, densely inhabited, no doubt, but still without any sign of life on that Sunday at dawn.

The first, The Watcher, is about a member of a political party watching the election polls at an area densely populated with a different political party. And so, in his memory, he began to contrast the scene before his eyes with the atmosphere of Italy after the liberation, in those few years whose most vivid recollection now was the way everyone had taken part in political affairs and actions, in the problems of that moment, serious and elemental (these were thoughts of the present: then he had lived as if the atmosphere of those times was natural, as everyone did, enjoying it—after all that had happened—angry at things that were wrong, without ever thinking they could be set right); he remembered how people looked then, all of them seeming equally poor, and interested in universal questions more than in private ones; he remembered the makeshift party offices, . Web icon An illustration of a computer application window Wayback Machine Texts icon An illustration of an open book. There they were, dealing with little practical problems: how to draw up the report on “Voters registered at other districts”; how to go over the tally for the district, taking into account the list of “Deceased Voters” that had arrived at the last moment. And finally, "The Argentine Ant" has a young couple and baby arriving in a country cottage -- only to get invaded by ants that evening.

When a man, his wife, and their infant son move to Argentina they find that their house- and indeed, all the surrounding houses- are infested with ants.

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