Italo Calvino’s “The Castle of Crossed Destinies”

RWS_Tarot_19_SunIn this novella a series of tales are delivered by individual storytellers, each of whom reveals a certain display of tarot cards.  Sequentially, each array of cards offers a type of free-association story.  As characters take their turn to present, the indicated actions and events become interwoven. Cards conjoin and overlap. Destinies cross.

Besides the cleverness and intrigue of the fiction, the stories offer those of us interested in the tarot ways to get more familiar with the cards themselves. The group uses the traditional tarot deck in the book’s first half, then a more modern deck in the latter.

Each card is a poem begging for exposition, illustrated with items that tell and have ranging connotations.

The author presents a revealing afterword section describing his usage of the tarot. Everything is on the table in this book. You just have to join in and piece the meanings together.

“I always feel the need to alternate one type of writing with another, completely different, to begin writing again as if I had never written anything before.” – Italo Calvino