Book info

Mr Palomar (1994)

Mr Palomar (1994)
Author
Rating
3.89 of 5 Votes: 4
ISBN
0099430878 (ISBN13: 9780099430872)
languge
English
publisher
vintage classics
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Mr Palomar (1994)
Mr Palomar (1994)

About book: The thought of a time outside our experience is intolerable.Had I met someone like Mr. Palomar before reading this book, I’d have easily passed him off as just another middle aged man on the verge of senility with nothing better to do with his time or at the most a mad wannabe scientist who realized about his true calling when it was too late with no one interested about his observations or findings. But trust Mr. Calvino when it comes to make seemingly weak characters strong and one of the most dull situations interesting for his readers. The words flown from Calvino’s pen can render an act of staring at a ceiling fan as the most exciting adventure ever known to man, however, Mr. Palomar gives us something wider in scope which enshrouds not only his home or his local market but the whole universe including moon and stars (If Calvino won’t talk about celestial bodies then who will).The book is divided into three parts and each part deals with a particular experience which helps Mr. Palomar in exploring various events and visuals in order to find answers about the bigger questions of life. Philosophical Enquiry is what it is called? It is but it’s something which carries the Calvinian trademark and gives us a whole new way to indulge in such philosophies without losing interest for a single moment. Mr. Palomar takes us to a beach where he observes the coming and going of the waves while waiting unsuccessfully for a repetition of a phenomenon and on the same beach he is trying his best about looking or not looking or looking in a most natural and decent (!) way at the naked bosom of a female bather. If you want to know how subtly the humor coated with right dose of irony can be used in a most successful fashion in fiction in very few words, then read this piece. In a similar way, Mr. Palomar observes love making between tortoises, tries to decipher the whistling of birds and makes an attempt in giving words to the silence. And when Mr. Palomar looks at the sky! The words thereof are like music to the ears. It makes you fall in love all over again with the stars in the night sky, the moon in the afternoon and the beauty of the world around us. If the ancients had been able to see it as I see it now, Mr. Palomar thinks, they would have thought they had projected their gaze into the heaven of Plato's ideas, or in the immaterial space of the postulates of Euclid; but instead, thanks to some misdirection or other, this sight has been granted to me, who fear it is too beautiful to be true, too gratifying to my imaginary universe to belong to the real world. But perhaps it is this same distrust of our senses that prevents us from feeling comfortable in the universe. Perhaps the first rule I must impose on myself is this: stick to what I see. Mr. Palomar journey further extends to a visit to his local supermarket, a zoo in Barcelona, Garden of rocks and sand of the Ryoanji of Kyoto in Japan and Ruins of Tula in Mexico. He looks, he observes, he contemplates, he draw conclusions but even on viewing the whole world as a museum where there’s hardly any entry charge, he’s not able to find a concrete relation of his existence with that of the universe. He feels the need of defining every moment, every instant of his being and also the need of finding a set pattern in the world which gives him the pleasure of knowing that he has lived his life the way it ought to be lived and the universe exist the way it ought to exist whether Mr. Palomar is a part of it or not. He is extremely unsure of himself and the gist of the matter is - he wants to be at peace with himself....the world around him moves in an unharmonious way, and he hopes always to find some pattern in it, a constant. Perhaps because he himself feels that his own advance is impelled by uncoordinated movements of the mind, which seem to have nothing to do with one another and are increasingly difficult to fit into any pattern of inner harmony.Now, you see Calvino can’t do anything wrong in my eyes. With such books, I feel like he indulges me a lot and gladly accompany me in my insanity. He don’t even have to try to make me smile because his writing, which is carried out with a unique blend of intellect and easiness, does that effortlessly. It’s fascinating to see the extent of his observational skills and equally fascinating when those observations are given shape in form of words. But I’m reluctant in recommending this book to everyone. I can vouch for great writing but subject matter might not appeal to all, so read it when you want to read a little book with a big heart. A person, for example, reads in adulthood a book that is important for him, and it makes him say, How could I have lived without having read it! and also, What a pity I did not read it in my youth! Well, these statements do not have much meaning, especially the second, because after he has read that book, his whole life becomes the life of a person who has read that book, and it is of little importance whether he read it early or late, because now his life before that reading also assumes a form shaped by that reading. Italo Calvino with Jorge Luis Borges

Cari alieni,il nostro viaggio alla scoperta della letteratura postmoderna e delle sue origini, guardando alla nostra Italia, non poteva che passare da Italo Calvino, grande innovatore della narrazione – e non solo – del secondo ‘900.Tra le molte sue opere qui si tratta, in particolare, di Palomar, pubblicato dalla casa editrice Einaudi nel 1983. Un romanzo che è anche un’esperienza, il viaggio avventuroso di un uomo ossessionato dalla ricerca di una chiave di pensiero, potremmo chiamarla, che gli consenta di svelare l’ordine che lega il mondo ai suoi elementi, e i suoi elementi tra loro.L’opera presenta indubbiamente i caratteri del romanzo filosofico e tuttavia tradisce, nelle sue intenzioni e nella sua perfetta riuscita, quello che viene ormai da molti citato come uno dei tratti peculiari del postmodernismo: la rinuncia divertita-e-per-niente-ingenua a qualsiasi pretesa di comprensione sistematica della realtà.Il Telescopio PalomarLa trama è molto semplice. Il signor Palomar è un uomo taciturno e solitario. Moglie, figlia, casa con giardino e vacanze al mare. Forse anche un cane, e la familiare nel box. Dal luogo di villeggiatura alla città, Palomar trascorre le sue giornate in osservazione, impegnato com’è a scrutare con maniacale precisione i fenomeni che la natura manifesta ai suoi occhi, ad intuirne gli schemi, le connessioni. Non a caso il nome del protagonista coincide con quello del celebre Mount Palomar, dov’è situato uno dei più importanti osservatori astronomici degli Stati Uniti: la rilevanza paradossale dell’omonimia è presto colta, se si considera che il nostro uomo, affetto da miopia, non riesce a mettere a fuoco gli oggetti che si trovano in lontananza e dedica tutto sé stesso alla minuta osservazione del dettaglio.La struttura del romanzo, che si presenta in forma di brevi racconti, ci viene illustrata dallo stesso Calvino in una nota esplicativa. Si tratta un’opera divisa in tre parti di nove racconti ciascuna, a loro volta suddivisi in tre capitoli, per un totale di ventisette brevi “esperienze” che vedono il signor Palomar protagonista osservatore e pensatore. La tripartizione illustra i diversi approcci al conoscere dell’uomo: quello sensoriale, e nella specie visivo; quello antropologico, cioè mediato dall’inserimento di fattori culturali e linguistici, e quello puramente speculativo. Anche lo stile, la lingua dei racconti, varia a seconda della modalità conoscitiva in questione: dalle descrizioni per le esperienze visive, alle narrazioni per le esperienze conoscitive che abbiamo definito antropologiche, fino alle astrazioni più pure, per le speculazioni di sapore metafisico.E così, giorno dopo giorno, il nostro Palomar osserva e medita, medita e osserva. Dal gorilla albino dello zoo alla volta celeste si susseguono le sue molteplici disavventure intellettuali, con effetti comici a tratti esilaranti. Ogni racconto si conclude con un fallimento ma, per nulla scoraggiato – solo un po’ innervosito – Palomar ricomincia la sua indagine, alla ricerca perenne di un punto di vista che gli darà la comprensione del tutto.Nel suo incedere ad excludendum il nostro eroe, e di seguito Calvino, arriveranno ad una conclusione… che non vi svelo. Per non togliervi, qualora non l’abbiate ancora provato, il piacere di questa immensa lettura.http://www.raccontopostmoderno.com/20...
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Reviews
Inderjit Sanghera
True art opens our eyes to the beauty of the world-to its inexorable effervescence and inescapable sadness. Mr Palomar, who appears to the world to be an eccentric crank, discombobulating beneath the dissonances of his mind, is a true artist and poet: that he is able to recognize the beauty of a piece of cheese, which the colorless, grey crowds ignore in their desire to go nowhere fast, is a symptomatic of how willfully understood most artists are-it is only after we open the minds and eyes of other people to the unnoticed yet limitless beauty of the world that their eccentricity is seen as being a thing of genius. The trouble with Mr. Palomar and countless others like him is that they are unable to express their genius and when they do nobody bothers listening. So they remain oddities, the beauty they see and long to bring forth remains forever ensconced in their minds.“He falls back on the most obvious, the most banal, the most advertised, as if the automatans of mass civilization were waiting only for this moment of uncertainty on his part to seize him again and have him at their mercy.”The catalogue of objects which are transformed in Mr Palomar’s mind into something wondrous is endless, from the reflection of the setting sun in the sea; “from the horizon all the way to the shore a dazzling patch extends composed of countless, swaying glints; between one glint and the next, the opaque blue of the sea makes a dark network. The white boats, seen against the light, turn black, lose substance and bulk, as if they were consumed by that splendid speckling.”Or of the world form the point-of-view of a bird;“ochre walls and burnt sienna walls, walls the colour of mold from whose crevices clumps of weeds spill their pendulous foliage; elevator shafts, towers with double and triple mullioned windows; spires of churches with madonnas, white domes or pink or violet according to the hour and the light, veined with nervatures, crowned by lanterns surmounted by other, smaller domes.”If the world was full of more people will to open their eyes and minds like Mr. Palomar, to question, explore, noticed and observe, perhaps we would be less blind to the magic of the Milky Way or grace of a starling’s flight. Instead we are content to sleepwalk through life, querulous and quiescent, whilst dreamers like Mr. Palomar are able to soar like starlings upon the flights of their imaginations;“Nobody looks at the moon in the afternoon, and this is the moment when it should most require our attention, since its existence is still in doubt. It is a whitish shadow that surfaces from the intense blue of the sky, charged with solar light; who can assure us that, once again, it will succeed in assuming a form and glow? It is so fragile and pale and slender, only on one side does it begin to assume a distinct outline like the arc of a sickle while the rest is steeped in azure. It is like a transparent wafer, or half-dissolved pastille, only here the white circle is not dissolving but condensing, collecting itself at the price of gray-bluish patches and shadows that might belong to the moon’s geography or might be spillings of the sky that still soak the satellite, porous as a sponge.”And indeed the world would be a better and more beautiful place if only some of us paused to look at the moon in the afternoon.
Mercurialgem
I read this as an ebook and really had to speed read through it bc my membership with unlimited kindle was going to expire in a few days but wanted to squeeze in one or two books. When I started reading this book it was talking about the ocean/the waves/a naked lady on the beach and it just wasn't grabbing me (mind you that this was my first Calvino book so I had high expectations - I had only read his book that he wrote regarding his trip to the US).....so I was thinking in that very beginning that I was not going to like the book bc I didn't really care about the ocean and all the philosophical things he was saying BUT I kept reading and the more I read it was like Ahhh, I get IT! I see why people love this guy. From the story of him being in line to buy cheese (which I laughed when it was his turn and he felt the pressure from the people behind him in line - I related) or him staring at those birds or the bug.......I sometimes do the same and just stare at creatures/things and my mind just goes off in this train of thoughts like he did in this book. This is a book that I want to own physically and reread again and again.
Abby
“The idea that everything in the universe is connected and corresponds never leaves him: a variation in the brightness of the Crab nebula or the condensation of a global mass in Andromeda cannot help having some influence on the functioning of his record player or on the freshness of the watercress leaves in his salad bowl.”What might we be like if we were more observant? Italo Calvino puts this question to us in Mr. Palomar. Calvino has perhaps never written a novel, in the conventional sense of the word, and so I think newcomers are often disappointed by him (or they feel fundamentally misled). But if you can get over the expectation of a plot or a moral or a deep, three-dimensional array of characters, Calvino has rich delights to offer. Here we have the thinnest representation of a “character,” Mr. Palomar, who simply observes things—tortoises attempting to have sex, a woman’s exposed bosom on the beach, a pair of blackbirds in the garden, the “sword of the sun” on the water—in small, gorgeously styled vignettes. That is all. There is no “story,” no overarching moral lesson to be learned. But life, represented thoughtfully and meditatively, in lovely snapshots. I enjoyed this little book thoroughly.
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