De sammanflätade ödenas slott

Italo Calvino - De sammanflätade ödenas slott


The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino is a WEIRD fucking book. The weirdest - and, sadly, least enjoyable - Calvino book I've read so far, which is saying something.

The whole thing is built around tarot cards. A group of travellers in a deep forest (or, more precisely, two separate groups of travellers in two separate forests, or at least I think so) settle down around a table, and since they're mute, they try to tell their stories by showing the others tarot cards in specific sequences - call it a deckamerone of cards. It's a semiotic novel like Eco's The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana to the 3rd degree; every story told, while on some level an obvious play on classic antique and medieval epics, is filtered through a triple blind - the storyteller is limited by what the cards actually show, the narrator of the novel is limited by his interpretation of what the cards mean, and the reader of the novel is limited by his/her knowledge of the myths, cards, and literary nods involved.

As an allegory on storytelling, it's a remarkable feat, the way symbols and archetypes can show up in different ways and have a universal meaning even though they take on completely different roles depending on the context. And Calvino is a brilliant stylist. But in the end, it feels more like he's experimenting and showing off because he can, because he wants to make a point; the stories themselves become repetitive and rarely grab me. I'll want to reread this, in fact I think I want to put it on a shelf in my bathroom and read a story every now and then (most are just 3-4 pages). But for now, it's 3/5.



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