The Complete Cosmicosmics is a collection of short stories, translated from Italian to English. Let go of any expectations when reading this book, as this is a book with a difference. Italo Calvino brings planets and galaxies to life in this book. The reader is introduced to a forever living narrator that goes by the name of Qfwfq. This guide is the readers' window into the origins of the universe.
The reader is also introduced to the idea that many of the things we have discovered about the universe would have had a human-like nature, had we been there to observe. There would have been family drama, arguments and even the longing for love. Just a regular old soap on your television screen.
Calvino has a unique story-telling ability which is something that took me completely off-guard. The title of the book gave me an expectation of this book being just a collection of scientific theories but I was utterly blown away. Calvino has taken scientific topics and he has given them a fairytale-type background story. I particularly enjoyed the story of ‘Without Colours’. The reader is taught how everything in the universe was grey before there was an atmosphere. This led to the narrators love interest becoming distant. This personification of the universe and its contents makes something so vast quite relatable.
I was however quite disappointed with some of the themes in this book. Having been written in the 1960’s where attitudes towards women were extremely different to those we hold today, Calvino tends to hold on to a lot of those sexists ideologies. That sexist undertone is seen time and time again, through the story of the narrator. I also felt that this is a book that forces you to put it down after reading only a few stories. It tends to become long-winded and definitely requires an interval. Some of the scientific theories are also no longer relevant. This is again due to the period in which it was written. Technology has advanced a lot since.
However, this book definitely kept me captivated throughout, once I looked past the negative aspects. When reading this book I felt as though I was reading something akin to Shakespeare but for the scientific and mathematical mind. It is witty and humorous, I found myself chuckling quite often reading and that is always a good thing. Calvino’s writing made me feel as though I know the universe personally and that, in turn, makes me feel as though I am one with the universe.