Monday, October 10, 2005


The Abbé spent the rest of his days going back and forth between prison and monastery in continual acts of abjuration, until he died, after an entire life dedicated to the faith, without ever knowing what he believed in, but trying to believe firmly until the last.

How can you not love a book with paragraphs like this?

But that restless creature, our sister Battista, used to spend the nights wandering around the house in search of mice, holding a candelabra, with a musket under her arm. That night she went down into the cellar, and the candlelight shone on a lost snail on the ceiling, with its trail of silvery slime. A shot rang out. We all started in our beds, but soon dropped our heads back onto the pillows, used as we were to the night hunts of our resident nun. But Battista, having destroyed the snail and brought down a hunk of plaster with her instinctive shot, now began to shout in that strident voice of hers: "Help! They're all escaping! Help!" Half-dressed servants hurried to her, our father came armed with a saber, the Abbé without his wig; the Cavalier did not even find out what was happening, but ran off into the woods to avoid the fuss and went to sleep in a haystack.

This is the third Calvino I've gone mad for. Also excellent:

My favorite story features an astronomer who, while looking at a planet in the deep vastness of space, sees a sign that says "I know what you did."