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Fixing your leaky face

What a new book about receiving feedback reveals about language, meaning and the human condition

By Josephine Livingstone  


Italo Calvino was prone to falling in love with the sound of English words. As with all types of love, he sometimes didn’t realise that he’d fallen for the wrong thing until it was too late. Fortunately, his translator, William Weaver, was there to save Calvino from himself. Some years ago Weaver gave an interview to the Paris Review which included a lovely reminiscence about Calvino’s lexical crushes: “At one point he fell madly in love with the word feedback, and he didn’t realise that in America feedback is like closure or spinning out of…

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