Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Non-Existent Knight by Italo Calvino (1959, translated by Archibald Colquhoun, in Our Ancestors)

I have been reading works by Italo Calvino (1923 to 1985) for sometime.  About five years ago I purchased Our Ancestors, a collection of three novellas by Calvino on sale for 200 PHP.  With the reading of The Non-Existent Knight, set in the time of Charlemagne, I have finished the book.   It is very much modernist magic realism with a heavy dose of meta-fiction and more than a dash of whimsy thrown in.  The central "character" is a non-existent knight inhabiting a suit of armor.  Calvino in a preface written for Our Ancestors says you can read The Non-Existent Knight as an existentialist, a Jungian, a Freudian, a neo-Kantian or a structuralist or other ways or you can just enjoy it.  

I did enjoy this book and am for now going to leave it at that.  Calvino is a very self aware writer, watching himself tell a story and this idea is played with in The Non-Existent Knight.

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