Good Reading : March 2004
(shelflife) even a wedding feast.This I couldn’t see, at least not until he suggested it. So it’s a wed- ding feast, and the Waverer is promised to two brides (The Lovers), between whom he cannot choose.Wavering, he aban- dons both and flees into the forest (The Chariot), but as he reaches a crossroads (Two of Clubs/Wands), the horses pull in opposite directions. So he is faced with another decision, and again he avoids hav- ing to make it, this time by entrusting him - self to fortune (Page of Coins – also known as Page of Pentacles): heads or tails... Personally, I find this fascinating, but if it also seems a bit complicated, don’t worry: Calvino’s deceptively simple prose allows the reader to be carried along by his interpretations, while simultaneously encouraging us to come up with our own. In this way, he conjures the pleasing illusion that we are at his side, co-writing the tales with him. It is so intoxicating, in fact, that after I read it the first time, I ran out to my local new-age shop and bought a deck of Tarot cards, to see if I could make up sto- ries of my own. The tales in The Castle of Crossed Destinies are not new. On the contrary, they include such age-old ditties as Parsifal, Oedipus, Hamlet and Faust. Calvino’s whole purpose in retelling them is to demonstrate, through the use of the cards, that they all share common elements. It is even possible to find two tales in the same sequence of cards, such as ‘The Tale of Roland Crazed with Love’, which can be read backwards (i.e. its cards laid out in reverse order) as the story of Helen of Troy. One could argue that literary innova- tion has always been the result of good shuffling. It is no surprise then, that Calvino recognises himself in the card The Juggler. He was a master story(re)teller, and if The Castle of Crossed Destinies doesn’t make new shapes in the clouds, it at least gives us back our wonder of the sky. Italo Calvino’s The Castle of Crossed Destinies is published by Vintage, rrp $24.95 ���� ���������� ��� ������� One of the funniest Hollywood novels Ive ever read. Jonathan Franzen Smart, stubborn and independent to a fault, Olivia Hunt is one of the more memorable women in recent fiction. Jay McInerney ��� ������ �������� Olivia Hunts life is in turmoil, shes been fired, dumped and then discovers her sister has leukemia. Written as a series of letters, faxes and emails The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters is an extraordinary debut novel, by turns charming, disarming, heart-rending and hilarious. With great affection and humour Elizabeth Robinson introduces two young women whose thirst for life will amuse, infuriate and inspire. Elizabeth Robinson is a Hollywood producer whose credits include Braveheart and Last Orders. TP/B $29.95 Always the Sun ���� ����� What would you do if your son was being bullied? How far would you go to protect him from those who seek to harm him? Neil Cross is Tony Parsons with razor blades. An uncompromising exploration of the lengths a father will go to protect his son. $24.95 TP/B Demon of the Air ����� ������ Meet Yaotl, an Aztec slave and the unconventional amateur detective who stars in a series of historical murder mysteries by Dagger Award winner Simon Levack. Demon of the Air combines intrigue, drama, romance, historical fact and black humour to bring to life the strange and brutal world of the 16th Century Aztecs. TP/B $29.95 A VIACOM COMPANY �������������������������� The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters leap!