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The Numinosum Blog
SUNDAY, JUNE 21, 2009
Now that summer has hit (although you might not know it with all the rain we've been getting in NYC), I thought I would begin to share a bit of what I'm reading at the moment.
I just finished my first book of the summer, Italo Calvino's Cosmicomicsand my reaction is a quote someone once wrote about me: "why haven't I heard of this guy before?" I came to the book by way of Salman Rushdie, who thought much of the work, and hearing him describe it, I thought it might be something I would enjoy as well.
Cosmicomics is a collection of 12 short stories that use the creation of the universe as well as various scientific concepts as backdrop to whimsical and imaginative reveries on existence. All of the stories are filled with beautiful imagery and conceits; sometimes a sense of what the Portuguese call saudade perfumes the stories, while other times an irreverent humour and humanity shows through. Most stories are narrated by an entity called Qfwfq, who seems to have been a part of the universe since its beginning (and before). Hardly omniscient or omnificent, Qfwfq nonetheless reminded me, with his omnipresence in the universe, of the comic book beings Galactus or The Watcher or The Beyonder. A Sign in Space has Qfwfq trying to remember where he placed a 'sign' in space after millions of years; Without Colorsdocuments the advent of colors and how frightening the new world is to one still rooted in the old world of grays and shadows; The Aquatic Uncle and old N'ba N'ga's so-called unhip, backward fish life in a era of the hip and cool land amphibians; The Dinosaurs tells how people can quickly forget that which seemed so scary before; The Form of Space is a timeless story of unrequited love and jealousy, in this case the beautiful Ursula H'x 'falling' through space, parallel to Qfwfq, and forever out of reach; and The Spiralon why we see or don't see, with Qfwfq the the mollusk silently observing the passage of life. All the stories are thought-provoking, unbound fantasies and a delightful read. I would suggest reading Cosmicomics outside on an early and clear summer evening so that after finishing you can look up at the stars and moon and contemplate your own adventures for old Qfwfq.
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 7:40 AM
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.