Friday, February 09, 2007

Not that long ago, Italy was covered with trees.

Humans have deforested big parts of Italy well within recorded history.

It's one thing to say it. It's another thing to make it real in a novel.

In "The Baron of the Trees" by Italo Calvino, the child who is going to be a baron when his father dies gets mad at this family one afternoon over not much and says he is going to climb a tree in the back yard and never come down.

He does it. It doesn't stay in that particular tree but he is able to live his whole life in trees, going from tree to tree to visit people, to be part of the resistance (against Napoleon) when it's time to resist. Living an all tree life. With servants and money and and affection for outdoor living, it is not bad.

Reading the book makes the Italy of that time very forested as the Baron travels far and wide from tree top to tree top.

--The book is "The Baron of the Trees" by Italo Calvino translated by William Weaver. Calvino's work in English is such gorgeous writing that you can only bow in thanks to both Calvino and Weaver, an amazing team.