I feel like I would have benefited from reading this book in one or two long sessions. When I’m forced to set Calvino’s classic aside for a few days (or a week), I come back discombobulated. What am I reading now? How many beginnings have I read?
Three. This is the third beginning.
“Leaning from the steep slope”
What does the main character of this begininng want? To meet Miss Zwida. What’s standing in his way? He tells us in a most orderly fashion, laying out the obstacles one by one.
The main character takes a brief interest in Mr. Kauderer’s meteorological hobby when he realizes it will help him in his goal of meeting Miss Zwida. Once again I’m reminded of The Trial when men in heavy coats show up saying things like “It’s not important”.
Artist Zwida knows a prisoner. She insists she visits the prison to draw, but it’s difficult to make pretty pictures when you leave your pencil box at home. She wants the main character to get her a grapnel with rope attached. Ummm hmmmm. That’s not suspicious at all. She might as well have asked him to bake her a cake with a file inside. Requsted a lovely gift of a dozen sheets tied together.
It seems that Kauderer is more than a weatherman; he’s a prison break plotter. His plan was successful. During a dark and stormy morning, the main character spies a convict who begs him to inform someone at the hotel of his escape. This must be Miss Zwida’s prisoner. “Do not betray me.” And why not?
Prof. Uzzi-Tuzii shares that “Cimmerian books are all unfinished”. Resolution? Logical Exhaustion? No need to decide for this story.
We’re not surprised by another book switch. We’re familiar with Calvino’s trick. This time the variation has Lotaria and her companions divvying up assignments to decode every part of “Without fear of wind or vertigo”. Their analysis is very 1984-ish. When Lotaria begins to read aloud, the two Readers find themselves listening to another beginning. surprise-surprise.