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Hermit in Paris by Italo Calvino

Here is Calvino paying homage to his literary influences and tracing the evolution of his signature style. Here are his reminiscences of Italy’s antifascist resistance and the frenzy of politics and ideas of the postwar era. The longest and most delightfully revealing section of the book is Calvino’s diary of his travels in the United States in 1959 and 1960, which show him marveling at color TV, wrinkling his nose at the Beats, and reeling at the outpouring of racial hatred attending a civil rights demonstration in Alabama.