Cuando tenía doce años, Cosimo Piovasco, barón de Rondó, en un gesto de rebelión contra la tiranía familiar, se encaramó a una encina del jardín de la casa paterna. Ese mismo día, el 15 de junio de 1767, encontró a la hija de los marqueses de Ondarivia y le anunció su propósito de no bajar nunca de los árboles. Desde entonces y hasta el final de su vida, Cosimo permanece fiel a una disciplina que él mismo se ha impuesto. La acción fantástica transcurre en las postrimerías del siglo XVIII y en los albores del XIX. Cosimo participa tanto en la revolución francesa como en las invasiones napoleónicas, pero sin abandonar nunca esa distancia necesaria que le permite estar dentro y fuera de las cosas al mismo tiempo. En esta espléndida obra, Calvino se enfrenta con el que, según él mismo declaró, es su verdadero tema narrativo: «Una persona se fija voluntariamente una difícil regla y la sigue hasta sus últimas consecuencias, ya que sin ella no sería él mismo ni para sí ni para los otros».
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Described as a philosophical tale and a metaphor for independence, The Baron in the Trees tells the adventures of a boy who climbs up a tree to spend the rest of his life inhabiting an arboreal kingdom. The story of twelve-year-old Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò is narrated by his younger brother, Biagio. Set in Liguria near the French Riviera, the two brothers belong to a noble 18th century family whose estate is located in the vast forest landscapes of Ombrosa. The regions of Italy have not yet united and the Ligurian Coast is not ruled by a legitimate king. In a rebellious fit after refusing to eat a dinner of snails prepared by Battista, his sadistic sister, Cosimo climbs up a tree and decides never to come down again. He has literally had enough: enough of family and decorum, his proper role as a future Baron, and of everything on the ground. Initially helped and sometimes cared for by Biagio, the young Baron eventually becomes self-sufficient but finds that the more he distances himself from others in order to see them from a new point of view, the more he helps everyone on the earth. His love for a young woman named Viola changes the course of the lives of everyone: Cosimo, Viola, Biagio, and the community of Ombrosa.The Baron in the Trees is the second volume in the fantasy trilogy, Our Ancestors with The Cloven Viscount (1952) and The Nonexistent Knight (1959) comprising the first and third volumes, respectively. On publication, various Italian critics complained of "the 'tired' feel of the plot in the second half of the novel" and noted other problems with the novel. Despite these perceived flaws, critic Martin McLaughlin argues that the novel "remains something of a tour de force in Calvino's oeuvre. It is an extraordinarly successful attempt to reproduce a utopian, philosophical conte for the 1950s, with a whole range of intertextual allusions and a sophisticated parody of the poetics of the early English moralising novel as practised by Richardson ad parodied by Fielding". Having read Fielding I agree, but also appreciate the relative brevity of Calvino's approach.more
Cosimo (an 18th century Italian noble) climbs a tree out of teenage pique and decides never to come down. His life; his romances, battles, friendships and education are all carried out in the tree tops. So he woos the love of his life, hunts ravenous wolves, frights pirates, befriends the lowly bandits, takes tea with arboreal nobles and ponders his philosophy all high above the earth.It is one of the more straighter stories of Calvino’s but doesn’t suffer from this. The book manages to encompass the whole sweeping events of his life with a deft touch taking judicious turns to be light hearted, then thoughtful or just tense. All humanity is covered and whilst elevating Cosimo Calvino manages to concentrate on all our everyday dramas as well on philosophy and society as a whole.Simply enjoy its oddity or ponder its questions this is a delightful read and one I recommend to everyone.more
Like all books that deserve a 5-star rating this book is about Life -- in all its aspects. Just beautiful. Escaping to obtain freedom is necessary, but so is coming back.more
The amazing story of a young Baron who rebels, runs away to live in the trees and never comes down. Beautiful writing as all Calvino is and truly interesting and original story. Imagine trying to live in the trees for decades. Calvino shows us the growing of a boy into a young man into an old man in a creative and reflective way. Its great.more
This is a splendid book. On one level, there's not much to it: in the titular Baron, aged 12, has an argument with his parents and sister, is told to leave the table, and decamps to take up residence in the trees of the baronial estate. He never comes down, but still managed to live as full life, bringing his unique arboreal perspective to love, war, peace and politics.Italo Calvino is a wonderful writer, and whether the Baron's adventures are funny, sad, thought-provoking or all three, they are beautifully told. I also liked the ways in which the baron changes, mostly for the better, the lives of those below him. Strongly recommended.more
Eek, i read this book when my friend lent it to me with the proviso that it was terrible. I admit i was captivated by the poor writing and g.s.c.e. style plot, i emitted audible gasps of shock by the bad bad badness, i actually quite enjoyed reading it because of this.more
I really loved this story. The first half perfectly captured the imagination and spirit of youth. I can't imagine anyone could read it and not want to go live in the trees at least a little bit. I was thinking it would be the perfect book for a 10-14 year old, but the last half of the book was a bit more mature in both theme and style. (Interesting change in in Calvino's style as Cosimo matures and ages). The story is such an interesting depiction of life's stages and moods, and despite the fact that the premise is totally bizarre the reader can completely relate to Cosimo.more
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