Il castello dei destini incrociati: riassunto Il romanzo narra le vicende del narratore, lo stesso Calvino. Ogni personaggio sceglie un tema e dispone una carta sul tavolo per raccontarsi. Il significato di ogni singola carta dipende dal posto che essa ha nella successione di carte che la precedono e la seguono. Ma, oltre al valore numerico, le carte assumono anche un significato simbolico: le spade indicano i duelli, le coppe le feste, gli ori i soldi ed i bastoni le foreste. Cambiano anche i tarocchi, infatti le carte sono molto diverse da quelle di Bonifacio Bembo, usate nella prima parte del libro: qui vengono usati i tarocchi marsigliesi, diversi dai precedenti per la grafica ed inoltre riprodotti in bianco e nero. Tarocchi marsigliesi I singoli personaggi scelgono un tema e dispongono come in precedenza una carta sul tavolo.

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Shelves: literature I always feel the need to alternate one type of writing with another, completely different, to begin writing again as if I had never written anything before. There are times when I forget just how much I love Calvinos writing. That moment for me was page 38 in the Picador version that I own — at least, that is the moment I truly knew that there are depths to this book I have no hope of ever being able to plumb. A man is lost in the forest after a long, dangerous and arduous journey.

In the distance, as it is getting dark, he sees a castle. He makes his way there and is shown into a room where a great number of other people are already seated and eating and drinking.

He joins them and is about to begin talking when he discovers that he has no power of speech at all. This surprises him, but in watching the others at the table he soon discovers that they too have lost the ability to speak. When the food and wine are cleared away all that is left on the table is a pack of tarot cards. These cards and the manner in which they are placed on the table tell his story. Another guest then begins his story, also by laying down cards on the table — this time crossing the two rows with two columns.

In this way elements of the first story are reused in the second story. In the end there is an enormous spread of cards across the table in which twelve interlaced stories are told. The stories can be read up and down, or down and up, or right to left, or left to right. So that the two of clubs — a card with two wooden clubs crossed on its face, can mean two paths intersecting or it can mean the beginning of a battle. This is a book that does what poetry does — it weaves meaning out of images while at the same time referring to the history of poetry or literature as a way to give those images additional context and content.

It would be hard to be too surprised that she might make an appearance in this book as well. And while I can understand his frustration, this book is much better than he might make you think. But from the moment the King of Clubs from the Ancien Tarot de Marseille is dropped onto the table you will find it virtually impossible to stop reading.

The descriptions of St Jerome and St George which has you saying — oh so that is what that stuff meant and then the three tales of madness where Hamlet, MacBeth and King Lear are smashed together are so mind-blowingly well written and so damn clever and so insightful that it makes you come away thinking you have at least a vague idea of why people waste quite so much time reading this Literature rubbish in the first place.

You know, you really could see this book as some sort of post-modern wank of meta-fiction, the sort of book one might read at University for forty-five years followed by a PhD thesis explaining the connections between the Oedipus myth and the sorts of fairytales that Calvino himself documents in his Italian Folk Tales and, of course, the ever-present and potent images found in the humble tarot pack.

BUT this is a book based on the real obsession of the author, a writer who decided one day to see if he could make patterns out of rows of tarot cards so as to literally use them to tell stories and to then see if he could link those stories together and also somehow write them up in a way that complemented the sting of images he had produced on the table before him.

As he said, he finally published the book in the hope of exorcising this obsession which was becoming all-consuming.


'Il castello dei destini incrociati' di Italo Calvino



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