Numbers in the Dark: And Other Stories

Italo Calvino, Author, Tim Parks, Translator Pantheon Books $24 (276p) ISBN 978-0-679-44205-9
Italian novelist and short-story writer Calvino (1923-1985) is well-represented in this continually surprising collection of more than three dozen fables, tales, fragments and dialogues--a third of them never before published, others culled from magazines or newspapers, only a few previously anthologized. Qfwfq, the chameleon-like, timeless creature who related his subatomic and metaphysical adventures in the author's Cosmicomics, here recalls the split-second birth of the universe out of the void (``Nothing and Not Much'') and evinces sympathy for the fragile, perishable cosmos. Adapting the dialogue technique of Invisible Cities, Calvino presents imaginary interviews with Henry Ford, a still-surviving Neanderthal man and a rueful Montezuma, deposed from his Aztec throne. The regimentation and absurdity of life under fascism is evoked in several short fables written under government censorship during WWII, while lyrical neorealist stories explore the moral confusion and social anarchy of the immediate postwar period. A number of fables grapple with political ferment or technological change, like the premonitory title story, written in 1958, about supercomputers that run offices and know the past and future, or ``The Tribe With Its Eyes on the Sky,'' an allegory about nuclear arms proliferation and transnational corporate control of Third World societies. Novelist Parks's superb translations capture Calvino's quirky, iconoclastic voice, helping to make this a worthy addition to the Calvino shelf. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/30/1995
Release date: 11/01/1995
Show other formats
Paperback - 978-0-394-28198-8
Hardcover - 978-0-394-28141-4
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-307-53900-7
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-544-14642-6
Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-544-23037-8
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.