The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm utterly flabbergasted by how good this is. Forty years before The Canterbury Tales took England by storm, a little tiny place called Italy was having a full-blown RENAISSANCE. So why the hell have I been avoiding all these fantastic pieces of art, anyway? Because they're in Italian? For SHAME.
Fortunately, this translation is fantastic... and you know what? It really holds up. It has everything a public who wants to be entertained could ever desire. A hundred short stories framed by nobles hiding out while the Black Plague ravages Europe, eating, frolicking, and telling stories every night for ten nights.
Do you think a quarantine is a recipe for depression and disaster? Muahahahahaha NO. Let's just put it this way... there's more sex, laughter, trickery, sex, adultery, sex, theft, cons, sex, and hilarious situations in these stories than you'd find in the entire works of Shakespeare. And let's put this in perspective... Chaucer and Shakespeare stole a TON of s**t from Boccaccio. All of it funny and light and clever and wickedly perverse.
I always knew that literature, in general, is an incestuous lot, but between these many classic tales of spouses pulling fast ones on each other or selfless tales of true love or steadfastness or tales of corruption, greed, and confidence games, I'm tempted to just throw in the hat and say this guy has it ALL.
I know it ain't true. I've read enough Italians from more than a millennia prior to put paid to that idea. But STILL. This is entertaining as hell. And I thought Chaucer was a RIOT, too.
It just goes to show... never judge a book by its cover. You might be losing out on some GREAT comedy.
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