Book: Under the Jaguar Sun

I’m sure by now you’re familiar with my love affair with Italo Calvino. Recently I managed to find a number of his books at the library (a different one from the one I usually go to) and so it would seem I’m back to reading more of his books. It’s also really coincidental that I picked up this particular book as it tells three short stories which revolve around taste, hearing and smell. At work, we’re trying out a sensory program to get the kids to use their five senses to describe scenes or pictures. We hope that it would stimulate their minds a bit more and allow them to have better descriptors at their finger tips.

This particular book reminds me of the breadth and depth of our senses. A lot of times we simply use our eyes to see, but if we take that away, our sense of touch, smell, taste and hearing are heightened to such a degree that we can still make out most of the world around us. The three short stories highlight a different sense and just shows how our senses really contribute to stories.

Under the Jaguar Sun looks at taste and the story as whole was slightly disconcerting. The flavour was very intense and drew a lot from the setting of Mexico. It was raw, unfiltered heat both figuratively and literally. I found it quite interesting, but it wasn’t to my liking.

A King Listens is the second story which focuses on hearing. It’s really beautiful and haunting with just that touch of paranoia. It speaks volumes about the sounds that surround us everyday and what they mean and how they can make us feel.

As for the last story, The Name, The Nose, it is my favourite. Obviously it speaks about smell, from three perspectives. All three have the same theme but the smells that they go through and the experience that accompanies are vastly different.

This collection of short stories is unfortunately incomplete as Calvino died before he could write about the last two senses of sight and touch. Still, he continues to surprise me in every book I read. They are all unimaginably imaginative and really push boundaries in thoughts and the form of stories. I would love to let my kids read this book, but it’s not really appropriate for 12 years and below. However, it’s definitely a book I would like to add to my own personal collection which I am currently working on.

Under the Jaguar Sun

2 Responses to “Book: Under the Jaguar Sun”
  1. cellenbogen says:

    If On A Winter’s Night. . . is one of my favorite books.

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