Ask a Book Question: The 45th in a Series (Calvino Questions)

April 20, 2006 | 1 book mentioned 1

Molly writes in with a question about Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees.

coverI am having a book club meeting to discuss The Baron in the Trees, by Calvino. I am having the hardest time finding discussion questions. Any leads?

Millions contributor Emre has read the book, but he’s out of the country and unreachable at the moment and I’ve never read it. Still, I figured with all the collective knowledge out there we could get some good answers to this one. So how about it folks? Can anyone out there help Molly out? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

created and edits The Millions. He is co-editor of the collection of essays The Late American Novel: Writers on the Future of Books, called "funny, poignant, relentlessly thought-provoking" by The Atlantic. He and his family live in New Jersey. If you'd like to correspond, please don't hesitate to email.

One comment:

  1. just back from the military service. i don't know if this is too late but here are some discussion topics that might lead to interesting conversations regarding the baron on the trees:

    1. how does calvino incorporate the napoleonic era to the story line? what sort of outlook does the baron represent with regards to the historic events?

    2. why trees? (i know this is too generic but nevertheless worth the discussion) compare the baron's exile to the trees to that of the spanish dissidents who were punished to live on the trees. how does the baron differ from them?

    3. the baron's love affair, ordinary folk tale or different? how do present day love stories compare with this – a third folk taleish, a third shakespearish, and a third original – story?

    4. what does it mean to be of the aristocracy in italy in the early 19th century, especially when napoleon is raging wars to create the mother of all republics? what does the baron's rebellion to his father (and his father's hard achieved aristocracy) signify?

    i'm a little tipsy right now, it's way late in turkey, and – unfortunately – i do not have a copy of the novel with me. i hope that the discussion is yet to take place and these questions are helpful, i wish i could do more, but it's sleepy time for emre.

    your faithful servant,
    e

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