'The most magically ingenious of the contemporary Italian novelists' The Times
Viscount Medardo is bisected by a Turkish cannonball on the plains of Bohemia; Baron Cosimo, at the age of twelve, retires to the trees for the rest of his days; Charlemagne's knight, Agiluf, is an empty suit of armour. These three vivid images are the points of departure for Calvino's classic triptych of moral tales, now published in one volume and all displaying the exuberant talent of a master storyteller.
“Italo Calvino has advanced far beyond his American and English contemporaries, as they continue to look for the place where the spiders make their nests, Calvino has not only found that special place but learnt how himself to make fantastic webs of prose to which all things adhere”
“Reading Calvino, you're constantly assailed by the notion that he is writing down what you have always known, except that you've never thought of it before.This is highly unnerving: fortunately you're usually too busy laughing to go mad... I can think of no finer writer to have beside me while Italy explodes, Britain burns, while the world ends”
“The writing is just breathtaking and the final story, 'The Non-Existent Knight', still sends a shiver up my spine”
“Calvino's genius lies not so much in this tantalising conceit, but the brilliance and ingenuity with which he pulls it off...A dazzling display of literary fireworks”
“Calvino's refusal to be glum set him apart from other modernists. His marvellous Fifties trilogy, Our Ancestors, brought us allegorical fables about a cloven viscount, a non-existent knight and a baron who swings from the trees”