A unique, thematically linked set of tales chronicling some of the major zoological, geological and cosmic events that shaped life, the earth and the universe but from the perspective of fictional aspecs of consciousness that were around at the time to witness them.
Calvino does not concern himself with realism and yet he is concerned with real, scientific themes that explain how we got here. The lives of the characters that feature in the stories seem eternal or at least many generations long and bear witness to the key events that shaped our prehistoric past and yet their concerns are petty and mundane, they fall in love, are caught up in petty rivalries, envy and friendship. On the other hand, they spend eons dwelling on philosophical themes that concern us all and the stories read like parables or morality plays.
The stories are well written and he has a pleasing prose. Many of them are movingly profound although some not quite as I think the author believes. Still, overall a very strong collection and I look forward to reading more from him.