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Italo Calvino: Ti con zero (t zero)

This collection of stories carries on from where Le cosmicomiche (Cosmicomics) left off. It is divided into three sections. The first section, containing four stories, consists of more stories along the lines of those we saw in Le cosmicomiche (Cosmicomics). As with the previous book, it starts with a story about the moon. Qfwfq’s wife, Sibyl, is an astronomer and tells him that the earth is gradually attracting the moon towards it. The second part is entitled Priscilla and starts off with a series of quotes on life and has three stories on our biochemical origins and links this (yes, really!) with his love for the unobtainable Priscilla. The final part starts with the title story, which is about a hunter estimating his chances against an attacking lion, based on the laws of physics and ends up with a somewhat complicated but very clever reworking of the Count of Monte Cristo, which basically has a subtle philosophical conundrum, proving conclusively that Edmond Dantès must escape from his imprisonment. Though these are all stories, rather than a novel, they all have the common theme of taking a story and looking at it both as a conventional story, while, at the same time, examining it as though it were a scientific or philosophical problem. And, with Calvino, that works.

Publishing history

First published 1967 by Einaudi
First published in English 1969 by Harcourt, Brace & World
Translated by William Weaver