Discussion Notes: The Daughters of the Moon

This week’s story: The Daughters of the Moon – Italo Calvino – Literary Roadhouse Ep 202 

Next week’s story: Every Tiny Tooth and Claw (or: Letters from the First Month of the New Directorate) by Marissa Lingen 

Rated: Clean

Gerald, Andy and Anais discuss “The Daughters of the Moon” by Italo Calvino, a story of a consumerist society in a city that lived long ago in a different world. No longer charmed by the aging moon, they throw it in a junkyard, and it’s up to the daughters of the Moon to restore her. 

It’s a fanciful story told in a light but insightful tone. Listen for a heated argument between Andy and Anais about the nature of sentient, car-driving mammoths!

Have thoughts on this story?

Did we miss a crucial piece of this story? Tell us below! Or on Twitter @litroadhouse or in our FB group The Literary Roadhouse Readers.


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2 comments on Ep 202: The Daughters of the Moon

  1. Chros Riker says:

    Love this story. Thanks for the notes on Calvino. I can’t go along with mammoth gals won’t you come out to tonight and dance by the light of the moon. He mentions their breasts… a lot. They are Diana and her sisters — images of nature, as the water is an image of rebirth. If you impose literalism anywhere in this story, I’ll giggle. Did the Moon fit in a junkyard? Did it rise like a Thanksgiving Day Parade float? No. This is reality-fluid, with a gloss of mythology. In short, it’s trippy! Enjoy!

  2. Richard Dennis says:

    I enjoyed the discussion, and for what it’s worth, I think the narrator and friends were humans who turned into mammoths at the end when “the savannas and forests that had recovered the earth, burying cities and roads.”

    To me, the key to the story was the appearance of the discarded people: “Among the discarded things lived a community of discarded people—people who had been marginalized, or who had willingly discarded themselves, people who had tired of racing all over the city to sell and buy new things that were destined to go instantly out of date, people who had decided that the things that had been thrown away were the only real riches of the world. Encircling the moon, throughout the amphitheatre, these lanky figures stood or sat, their faces framed by beards or unkempt hair.”

    Marginalized people with beards and unkempt hair? These are the people (along with the naked girls, of course, and the marching cars) that restore the moon and give the happy ending. Written in 1968, this reads like a paean to the previous year’s Summer of Love. Or perhaps a salute to the people manning the barricades all over Europe in the summer of 1968. I loved the part where the old wrecks march along behind the moon, making a noise like thunder, and then merge with the Thanksgiving parade.

    This is a story of hope: “Following this moon that had been saved from the scrap heap, all the things and all the people who had been resigned to being tossed in a corner started on the road again, and swarmed toward the richest neighborhoods of the city.” Mammoth or not, “To the Barricades!”

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