Best 1947 Adventures (2)

By: Joshua Glenn
June 6, 2017

One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1947 adventure novels. Happy 70th anniversary!

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Italo Calvino’s adventure The Path to the Nest of Spiders.

Calvino’s first, Hemingway-esque novel is a coming-of-age story set during the so-called Italian Liberation War, late in WWII, when pro-Allied Italian resistance groups opposed both the occupying German forces and the Italian Fascist puppet regime. Pin, an orphaned cobbler’s apprentice — and Huckleberry Finn-type urchin — lives in a town on the Ligurian coast; the townspeople aren’t sure whose side they’re on — the fascists or the partisans. However, Pin steals a pistol from a Nazi sailor and attempts to join the Italian partisans. Through Pin’s eyes, we see that the supposedly noble freedom fighters aren’t particularly impressive. Although Calvino doesn’t demonstrate any metafictional predilections here, he does signal a stubborn independence by writing something so cynical at a time when resistance novels were all the rage.

Fun fact: Calvino was 23 when the book appeared. Published in English translation in 1957.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any 1947 adventures that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists. The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time. THE OUGHTS (1904–13): 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913. THE TEENS (1914–23): 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923. THE TWENTIES (1924–33): 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933. THE THIRTIES (1934–43): 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943. THE FORTIES (1944–53): 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953. THE FIFTIES (1954–63): 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963. THE SIXTIES (1964–73): 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973. THE SEVENTIES (1974–83): 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983. The goal, eventually, is to publish a Top 10 Adventures list for every year of the 20th century.

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Adventure, Lit Lists

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