First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.
From the age of twelve, the Baron Cosimo Piovasco di Rondo makes his home among ash, elm, magnolia, plum and almond. He walks through paths made from the twisted branches of olive, sleeps in a holly oak, bathes in a fountain hewn from poplar bark. An aerial library holds the books with which he educates himself in philosophy and mathematics. Suspended among the leaves, the Baron adventures with bandits and pirates, conducts a passionate love affair, and watches the Age of Enlightenment pass by beneath him.
We are done with another work week! The weekend is waving! That was one helluva week, especially here in the Philippines. Last Monday, we had our National elections and it was sad to say that the one I was rooting for, the one who I believed was capable of shepherding the country towards a better future lost, by a landslide. For now, I feel like the country’s future hinges on a wait-to-see basis. I just hope that the new president will be able to arouse national sentiments and resolve the persisting concerns of the citizenry. While our future is a little uncertain, I hope that everyone is ending the week on a high. I hope you get to rest and recover during the weekend. More importantly, I hope that everyone is doing well, physically, mentally, and spiritually. With new subvariants of the COVID 19 virus still emerging, I hope that you still practice the minimum safety protocol. Let us remain vigilant and cautious, especially when we are outside the safety of our homes. Let us beat this virus together.
Before finally diving into the weekend, let me close this week with a First Impression Friday update. After spending the last two months reading exclusively the work of female writers, I am now currently immersing myself in the works of European writers. The experience, as always, is scintillating and, at times, perplexing. But I guess that is the beauty of literature. Just like what I have done in March and April, I have been alternating new-to-me writers and not-so-new-to-me writers. Earlier today, I finished Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way, the first book in his magnum opus In Search of Lost Time. After completing the book, I started reading Italian writer Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees. I believe this is my sixth novel for the month.
The Baron in the Trees is my second novel by Calvino; I have read If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler back in 2018. Originally published in Italian in 1957, with a revision in 1959, the story is set in Ombrosa, an imaginary village on the Ligurian Riviera. The story commenced on June 15, 1767, and was narrated by Biagio, the younger brother of Cosimo Piovasco di Rondò, the titular baron and the novel’s protagonist. After an argument with their father, Baron Arminio Piovasco di Rondò, Cosimo climbed the threes of their garden. With conviction, Cosimo pronounced that he will never come down again. I surmise that was The Baron in the Trees came to be.
I haven’t really covered much of the book yet because I just started reading it this afternoon. I have just completed four chapters but these four chapters have established what I can expect from the book. So far, Cosimo is resolute in his decision to stay in the trees. From Biagio’s accounts, climbing trees has become second nature to the brothers: I’ve already said that we spent hours and hours in the trees, and not for utilitarian reasons, like many boys, who climb up just to look for fruit or birds’ nests, but for the pleasure of overcoming difficult protuberances and forks, and getting as high as possible and finding beautiful places to stop and look at the world below, to make jokes and shout at those who passed under us.
By the way, I liked how Calvino is describing the different trees. I also like how the interactions between these trees are giving life to the story. Cosimo, on the other hand, remains a mystery to me. What is driving him? And how will he survive living in the trees? Somehow, I am reminded of Tarzan but even Tarzan had the gorillas to help hone his survival skills. These are things I am looking forward to in the story. I am also curious as to how the dynamics between the two brothers evolve. I do realize that at one point, Cosimo will go down the trees but what will cause it is the question that is brewing on my mind. Perhaps a love affair? Interestingly, the book is rather straightforward in its storytelling, an antithesis to If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. This is an aspect of Calvino’s prose I am more than excited to explore. Or perhaps there is a surprise waiting for me somewhere?
There are quite a lot of questions I want to be answered and I can’t wait to have the answers. The book seems easy to read, thankfully. With this being said, I hope to finish the book over the weekend. It does seem like a slender read. How about you fellow reader? What book or books are you taking with you for the weekend? I hope you get to enjoy them. For now, happy weekend! And as always, happy reading and take care!