Books: Time Lapse

DIFFICULT LOVES by Italo Calvino Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 290 pages; $14.95

When a writer achieves international renown, translators and publishers work overtime spreading all of the new celebrity's good words. This commendable practice has an unsettling side effect: careers can appear to run backward. The case of Italian Author Italo Calvino is instructive. His reputation grew from such cerebral narratives as Cosmicomics (1968) and Invisible Cities (1974); before long, Calvino's name was being bracketed between those of Borges and Nabokov in the fabulists' Hall of Fame. When Italian Folk Tales was translated and...

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