This is a short fable about a country whose ethics, in the end, might not be that dissimilar to the one you live in. In a flock of black sheep, it is of course the white one which stands out. Translated from the Italian by Tim Parks and read by Scoot.
You haven't read Numbers in the Dark, the collection where this story originates? Never read Invisible Cities, either? Haven't even heard of If on a Winter's Night a Traveler? The Baron in the Trees? Surely this can't be true, because Italo Calvino is one of the greatest of Italian writers, of the last century or any other. Folk tales inspired him (he anthologized many himself) and tales of imagination and delight poured from his pen; he also published literary essays and transcriptions of his lectures. Interestingly, he was born in Cuba and fought the Nazi occupation of northern Italy during the Second World War. He died twenty years ago, but his legend, as they say, lives on.
By the way, we really do promise to update this website this week and start publishing again on a more regular basis. At least we'll try to!