Italo Calvino's Marcovaldo is a collection of 20 short stories, loosely connected with each other in chronological order but not really in causality. There's one story for each season of a year for a span of 5 years. Marcovaldo is a poor worker and a father, living and working in a random city probably somewhere in Italy. But as with all Calvino's works, this city is every city and it's our city as well, with streets and shops and houses that we know very well. His neighbours are our own neighbours and they can be found everywhere. And his problems just so happen to be our problems that maybe we once had or will probably have... And that is exactly the magic with Marcovaldo, as Calvino practices his almost supernatural ability to makes us think like him and feel like him and get into his head and see through his eyes. So while we know that it's probably a pretty stupid idea to go outside and sleep on a specific park bench we still do it, just like Marcovaldo. We know we can't actually see a plant grow in the rain... but we would try it, just like Marcovaldo. It is those contrasts between the realities of Marcovaldo's life and the drab consumer-society around him, that might perhaps manage to jar us just enough to start viewing life from a different perspective.
As with every other Calvino work that I've had the pleasure to experience, Marcovaldo is very easy to read, with language that flows smoothly and untroubled, beautiful descriptions drawing pictures of not so distant memories and natural dialogue among his characters that can either witty, tense or relaxed depending on the circumstances and always realistic. The stories at the earlier part of the book felt a bit lighter in subject while towards the end they acquired a slightly deeper and more serious tone but that could just as well be a subjective change of perception. Some of them will resonate incredibly well with some readers but it is just as easy to love all of them.
In all, this is a very easy to read book, worthy of its praise and definitely one that I can recommend to anybody.