Pinocchio by Umberto Eco


byUmberto Eco, Geoffrey Brock, Carlo Collodi

Kobo ebook | December 7, 2011

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Though one of the best-known books in the world, Pinocchioat the same time remains unknown—linked in many minds to the Walt Disney movie that bears little relation to Carlo Collodi’s splendid original. That story is of course about a puppet who, after many trials, succeeds in becoming a “real boy.” Yet it is hardly a sentimental or morally improving tale. To the contrary, Pinocchio is one of the great subversives of the written page, a madcap genius hurtled along at the pleasure and mercy of his desires, a renegade who in many ways resembles his near contemporary Huck Finn.

Pinocchio the novel, no less than Pinocchio the character, is one of the great inventions of modern literature. A sublime anomaly, the book merges the traditions of the picaresque, of street theater, and of folk and fairy tales into a work that is at once adventure, satire, and a powerful enchantment that anticipates surrealism and magical realism. Thronged with memorable characters and composed with the fluid but inevitable logic of a dream, Pinocchio is an endlessly fascinating work that is essential equipment for life.
Title:PinocchioFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:December 7, 2011Publisher:New York Review BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1590175492

ISBN - 13:9781590175491

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful in ways others aren't I have been slowly reading a stack of children's classics to my twins (thus far to combat the poor movie adaptations that are out there), but I have been less than impressed. I found Peter Pan (both the character and the story) insufferable; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory offended me ideologically; and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was too heavy handed. So I had little hope for Carlo Collodi's Pinnochio. Even though I had been slightly disabused of my belief that Pinnochio would be overly moralistic by The Old Trouts' brilliant stage adaptation (they're a Canadian puppet theatre company based out of Calgary), and despite the fact that Disney's Classic adaptation maintains most of the creepier elements from Collodi's classic, I approached Pinnochio with serious doubt and attitude. I dared it to be good. And shock of shocks it actually was. Yes there's a talking cricket, but his name isn't Jiminy and he doesn't sit on Pinnochio's shoulder and act as his conscience. Yes there is a thread of moralism running through the book, and yes some of the things Collodi teaches, such as his focus on one's duty to obey one's parents, run contrary to what I believe, the book actually steers clear of preachiness and simply lets a fun story unfold in a fun way with a couple of decent lessons cropping up here and there. Playland (known as Pleasure Island in Disney parlance) is almost as creepy as Walt's uber-spooky version, particularly with slimy man who rounds up the kiddies and turns them into donkeys. Monstro is a gigantic, mile long Shark-with-no-name, rather than a massive whale. The blue haired fairy is a huge character, far more important than the talking cricket, and she can change shape into a goat at will. And if these elements weren't enough fun there are times when Pinnochio is collared and tied to a dog house to watch hens, hanged from a tree to die in the forest, nearly used as kindling, has his donkey flesh eaten away by nasty little fish, and is even thrown in prison by a Judge who happens to be a talking Ape. E. Harden's translation seems superb and is eminently readable, and even though the book comes in at a pretty steep 200+ pages (impressive for a kids' book) it never tires its reader or his listeners. My kids wanted more every time we stopped for the night, and if Collodi leaves the kids wanting more that has to be a good thing. Our next stop is Alice in Wonderland, but I may hunt down some more Collodi. He deserves to be read.
Date published: 2009-03-31