A couple on an epicurean journey across Mexico are excited by the idea of a particular ingredient, suggested by ancient rituals of human sacrifice. Precariously balanced on his throne, a king is able only to listen to the sounds around him – sure that any deviation from their normal progression would mean the uprising of the conspirators that surround him. And three different men search desperately for the beguiling scents of lost women, from a Count visiting Madame Odile’s perfumery, to a London drummer stepping over spent, naked bodies.
Once again Italo Calvino delights with a – sadly -never completed, but ultimately rewarding collection of short stories that explore the senses, taste, hearing, and smell. Just like his other books, most notably The Castle of Crossed Destinies and Invisible Cities, Calvino‘s love of symbolism and theme is thickly lavished throughout the prose.
Each story is a pleasure to read, and all are, unsurprisingly, totally different in their execution, nevertheless each tale is filled with intensity as well as both intoxicating and sometime repulsive imagery. It is a feast for the eyes, so in a way that sense is indeed incorporated into the book and tells its own story through the reader.
“To be sure, the palace contains some so-called historic chambers, which you would like to see again, even though they have been redone from top to bottom, to give them back the antique aspect lost with the passing years.”
Different facets of each of the senses are explored, the differing perceptions and sensations, and the thought processes which logically follow in this world of magical realism. Continue reading “Under the Jaguar Sun – Italo Calvino”