I'm only in the middle of the book, but even if the rest of the stories are complete duds, it still deserves five stars!
The rest of the stories confirmed my opinion of this collection. The only other Calvino I've been able to finish was _If on a Winter's Night a Traveller_ which made me feel alternately frustrated and inspired. These stories deal with less abstract concerns than usual for Calvino. We have characters, narrative, plot(!) - all things I can get excited about anyway. But Calvino's mastery of language (of course, in translation. Sigh.) and his sense of people make each story luminous. I would pick out favorites, but it's impossible, they're all that good (except maybe one or two, but I'm not holding *that* against him).