Italo Calvino's Castle of Crossed Destinies is unique among his later novels for failing to uphold the rules and constraints that he was increasingly fond of imposing on his works of fiction. To explain the novel's structural failure, this essay puts aside the framework for analysis which is commonly adopted, a structuralist reading rooted in Saussure's linguistics and Propp's narratology, and suggests a framework stemming from the comics that Calvino would have read in newspapers as a child. An unlikely source of inspiration, these comics actually tell us a great deal about the novel, about its origin, its tone, and its unraveling, as well as help us pinpoint the problem in a clash of interpretative strategies, between one that treats images as changeable and another that treats them as stable points in a narrative continuum.

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