Adam, One Afternoon by Italo Calvino

By Italo Calvino

This choice of playful, lethal fables is populated with waifs and strays, a gluttonous thief and a mischievous gardener. The grimly funny story "The Argentine Ant" moved Gore Vidal to claim 'if this isn't a masterpiece of twentieth-century prose writing, i can't examine whatever better'.

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47 The black man sat in the back of the car in a white shirt and grey pants, smelling of carbolic soap. ' Festus gave him a look registering the intention to answer� but in the meantime rolled down the window and yelled out. A faint cry went up from the servants' quarters. Festus bellowed; and this time the youngster came running to open and close the gates behind the car. As the headlights threw a bright dust­ opaque ramp into the sky, Festus took up Dando. ' Bray turned and offered a cigarette over his shoulder.

Anyway, that's a n o th er story. - I heard you were g oin g to the Ministry of Education? ' said Wentz. 'Oh, did you? ' he laughed. 'Well, perhaps I am, th en. ' Mrs Wentz had the to ne of voice that sounds as if the speaker is addressing no one but himself. 'How people still think with their blood and enj oy to feel contempt . • • ye s , the bar a t the Silver Rhino. ' 'Our son Stephen is lo o kin g after it tonight. It's amazing how be deals with t ho s e fellows - better than I do, I c an tell you.

An elderly servant came in with a silver tray of glasses and bottles, and Clough interrupted himself to say with the sweet forbearance of one who does not spare him ·. self, encouraging where others would give way to exasperation, 'It would be so nice if we could have a few slices of lemon and more ice? - Yes, aU I've said to Mweta, again and again ­ make your own pace. Make your own pace and stick to it. He knows his own mind but he's not an intransigent fellow at all - well, of course, you know.

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