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«La empresa de tratar de escribir novelas ;apócrifas;, que me imagino escritas por un autor que no soy yo y que no existe, la llevé a sus últimas consecuencias en este libro. Es una novela sobre el placer de leer novelas; el protagonista es el lector, que empieza diez veces a leer un libro que por vicisitudes ajenas a su voluntad no consigue acabar. Tuve que escribir, pues, el inicio de diez novelas de autores imaginarios, todos en cierto modo distintos de mí y distintos entre sí: una novela toda sospechas y sensaciones confusas; una toda sensaciones corpóreas y sanguíneas; una introspectiva y simbólica; una revolucionaria existencial; una cínico-brutal; una de manías obsesivas; una lógica y geométrica; una erótico-perversa; una telúrico-primordial; una apocalíptica alegórica. Más que identificarme con el autor de cada una de las diez novelas, traté de identificarme con el lector...»

Italo Calvino
Published: Siruela on
ISBN: 9788415723219
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There are terribly few authors that can write experimentally while remaining humorous, engaging, and heartfelt. Calvino is one of the bunch. Each chapter of this book manages to capture the reader's attention in new and unexpected ways- all while maintaining a separate narrative and thematic thread. Probably a great place to start for someone new to his work...though my favorites remain Invisible CIties and The Baron in the Trees.more
I should really finish re-reading this for a book club before I write a full review...let's just say that this one is probably Calvino's most experimental (atleast of the ones I've read) and is just as challenging as it is rewarding. There are abrupt discontinuations of plots and characters and at least five mismatched stories meshed into one...it begins in a fairly half-hazard way after Calvino invites you to get comfortable (do put your feet up, now!) and free yourself from any interruptions. Pretty soon, we go back and forth between the novel characters and the characters of the people reading it whose novels were misprinted and what they were reading turns out to be a Polish novel...


The readers of the original novel buy the Polish novel, which is nothing like what they (or we) were reading and that turns out to be something else entirely. We are continually addressed as the reader and so is the reader searching to simply finish the original story. I'm up to pg. 63 again and I have no idea what story I'm reading or when it switched from one to another at this point (even though I've read this 5 yrs. ago, that doesn't seem to help.) We become like the readers who believe the book was misprinted and they will never get back to the original story...somehow, we feel lost in the plot. There's a little bit in us that suffers the loss of what could have been with each character we lose track of. We find ourselves not wanting to make permanent relationships with the new characters, thinking we will soon lose track of them again anyhow.


The very fact of the matter is, I believe Calvino does this purposefully...it's as if he is examining simultaneously the process of reading with the process of writing. It's mainly about form at this point though if memory serves, there is more substance at later points. In any case, a must for fans of experimental fiction, esp. if willing to struggle with the unpredictable and disorienting.more
"every thinking activity implies mirrors for me. According to Plotinus, the soul is a mirror that creates material things reflecting the ideas of the higher reason. Maybe this is why I need mirrors to think: I cannot concentrate except in the presence of reflected images, as if my soul needed a model to imitate every time it wanted to employ its speculative capacity."

This isn't a review ,only my thoughts.my friends have written amazing ones.

first it is a brilliant work of the imagination,a group of novels that melt,mix and reflect one another,a ten beginnings each one is completely different from the other

My favorite one was
(Leaning from the steep slope),i really loved it!

"I am becoming convinced that the world wants to tell me something, send me messages, signals, warnings"

"I have tended to reduce the presence of darkness in my life. The doctors' prohibition of going out after sunset has confined me for months within the boundaries of the daytime world. But this is not all: the fact is that I find in the day's light, in this diffused, pale, almost shadowless luminosity, a darkness deeper than the night's."


Besides, the one talking about Cimmerians
I even searched the web to know more about them.
Cimmerians or Kimmerians who were an ancient Indo-European people living north of the Caucasus and the Sea of Azov until they were driven southward by the Scythians.

Liked the idea of the search for lost civilizations
It enriches and widen the scope of my understanding.

and in the Sea of Identities..

Calvino get across this subject at least for me.

May be I am a good observer or I looked to things in a different way.

This novel is like a Village of Many Nations.

And i searched for mine and I somehow find it ...

" the squat Arab garbage collector who in October begins his rounds for tips, house by house, with a Happy New Year card, because he says that his colleagues keep all the December tips for themselves and he never gets a penny"

I wander...

" Who is an Arab?

And how could anyone know that a person is (an Arab?)
Why he didn’t give him an identity.
Or a nationality
Only an Arab.
A vague description
not easy to define what is meant by an Arab.
language is not sufficient criterion of Arabness

Egyptians for examples are anthropologically Copts who speak Arabic
North Africans are mainly Amazigh..and etc...


"the young Sultana wrote to the translator, protesting. Marana rushed to Arabia. "An old woman, veiled and bleary, motioned me to follow her. In a roofed garden, among the bergamots and the lyrebirds and the jets of fountains, she came toward me, cloaked in indigo, a mask on her face, green silk dotted with white gold, a strand of aquamarines on her brow...."

And what is Arabia?
There Isn't any country named Arabia.
Another vague reference.

" Having gained the African dictator's trust, having regained that of the Celtic writer "

"in the African airport, among the hostages of the hijacking who are waiting sprawled on the ground"

Also only an African
And in the novel
Chinese and Japanese are not called Asians...
And polish,Irish and french are not called European...
This is one of the reasons why I didn’t rate it three but two.


at first i was excited and Curious to follow the novel, I
wanted to rate it five stars because of the great quotes , the unique idea and the interesting description.

But then it became boring and irritating.
and Not as strong as it begins.

i don't know why i didn't enjoy reading it,may be my expectation was very high.

My apologies to those who love this book and especially my Friends.
:)

more
Such an amazingly inventive and sophisticatedly wacky novel! Really a unique read and totally worth it!more
"YO DAWG, I HEARD YOU LIKE READING, SO I PUT A BOOK IN YO' BOOK, SO YOU CAN READ WHILE YO' READ."more
During my reading of this book (not even my first Calvino) all I could think of was "gee, post-modern!" After reading it I read a few other reviews which all seemed to make prominent use of the "p.m." word.

Much as I dislike all the open subjectivity; the noodling, Philosophy seminar rambling; the plastic taste and chilled emotion; irony galore... all those pomo standards... Calvino makes it more fun than his contemporaries.

Some of his devices are a bit forced I think, and don't quite live up to what I think he may have hoped for (the 2nd person narrative--wasn't buying it.) Still he's irreverently fun, clever in his plot twists and unlike many deeply post-modern authors, his points are worth their bulk.

Start with Invisible Cities or Numbers in the Dark though.more
I've wanted to read this book for years, purely based on the title. It was nothing like I was expecting - it's a post-modern tour de force, which is more about why we read and what we experience or expect when we do read, rather than a straightforward narrative. A quotation from the book sums it up: "He always feels as if he is on the verge of grasping the decisive point, but then it eludes him and he is left with a sensation of uneasiness".Beautifully written, thought-provoking, and clever, but don't read it you are looking for a story in which to lose yourself.more
Sometimes I felt like the Reader searching for the ending to every book he started in 'If On A Winter's Night A Traveler'. I had been searching for any copy of this book for years, and then I found the very edition I wanted: with the three different colored, different sized Calvino books stacked on the cover. It's perfect. (I'm always lucky on betterworldbooks.com!) Calvino starts with an amazing first chapter that will hook any book fan. I had a laugh when it described the Reader turning to the back of the book first, to see how many pages there were. I had just done the same thing with this book! I love the image of the war zone in the bookshop: books in ranks ready to ambush you with categories like "Books You've Been Planning To Read For Ages" or "Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves" [pg.5]. I think the first chapter is the best set-up and the best part.. though the whole book is amazing. The Reader starts 'If On A Winter's Night A Traveler' but finds he has a defective copy. While he is at the bookshop complaining, he meets the Other Reader, there for the same reason. They both are led from one book to the next, trying to find an ending to the previous book, but only finding more books without endings, missing for different reasons. Each of the stories here are perfect on their own, even if they do not have endings. I thought it would be irritating reading a bunch of stories without endings, but without the cliffhangers, they wouldn't be the same. I couldn't single out any of the stories because they are all unique, interesting, memorable. But the alternating Reader chapters had even more interesting ideas (usually about books), and no matter how fun the stories were, I still wanted to get back to the Reader's journey. Along the way he meets: the Unreader who'd rather make art from books instead of read them, the Other Reader's sister who reads books by finding out the frequently used words with a program and deciding what the book is like that way, Silas Flannery who wrote some of the stories.. or maybe it was the "treacherous translator" who wrote them. This book is definitely a fun time for book nerds. With the entire book full of speculations on all things books, I'd say Calvino wrote a love letter to books. It's tough to compare it to anything else. This is very worthy for the 1001 list. Possibly my favorite book of the year...no definitely. I can't wait to read more from Calvino, and I'm glad I was able to eventually find a copy of this one!more
Sometimes the descriptions of books are more interesting than the actual book, and to an extent, this is the case with this book by Calvino. It is a "novel" written in the second person, which concerns a Reader whose efforts to finish a book are continually thwarted, leading him on a quest which results in reading the beginning of ten different books instead of ever getting to the end of the one he started. In fact, most of the ten beginnings Calvino presents work well as self-contained short stories. Only a couple really left me wanting to know what happens next, so one could assume that the whole construct of ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER is just a framework for the author to present these stories. Calvino is doing a lot more than that, however. Each story is quite different in subject matter and, at least somewhat, in style. I say "somewhat" because the voice I kept hearing throughout this book was that of Jorge Luis Borges, whose own stories provided a similar (though more intense) sense of intellectual exploration, alternate realities, and the importance of literature. To his credit, Calvino is funnier (and more erotic) than Borges. The framework story of the Reader seeking the companionship of a female reader, who like him, started with an incomplete copy of ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER, is entertaining and comes to a nice conclusion. Along the way, Calvino tells us a lot about writers, writing, readers, and reading. Much of it is fascinating, and anyone who feels consumed by the need to devour books (as I do) can't help but be amused and entertained along the way. Still, at the end, I wasn't left with the feeling of having read a great literary classic--just a clever book by an intelligent writer.more
Intermittently fascinating and dull. Mostly, it's a book about how reading and writing are structured, and many compelling ideas are raised and examined. But this is interspersed with excerpts from "novels" that are supposed to engage yet never satisfy the reader... unfortunately, I thought these ersatz novels almost universally banal, and found myself skimming them.more
thorold's new review of Italo Calvino's novel If on a winter's night a traveller, which you are about to begin reading, is a little masterpiece of the form: not at all the sort of half-baked amateur reviewing you would expect to find on the internet, but more the sort of thing to be savoured in the august columns of one of the snootier literary reviews. It is elegant, concise, and will give you the clearest possible idea of what the experience of reading the book might be like. In fact, it almost renders the actual reading of the book superfluous. Surprisingly for thorold, a reviewer who has previously shown a ponderous propensity to parade parody and pomposity before us (who could forget his painfully silly review of the Oxford University Examination decrees and regulations?), on this occasion he has found just the right line, avoiding both infantile humour and sententious pontification. Superfluous and excessive redundant adjectives are banished, adverbs quietly suppressed, and the sentence structure is crisp and sharp. This is a review to be read reclining in a leather armchair with a glass of dry sherry at your elbow. It is a review, indeed, that might be said to require a plate of cashew nuts and a string quartet playing Haydn. Sit back, relax, and enjoy it.more
A lot of style and not a lot of substance. Or at least not enough for me. Calvino's craftsmanship earns a positive review.I would recommend Pale Fire over this one.more
I've started this book twice before in the last 20 years, and never got very far (which is odd for me). So when my bookgroup decided to read it, I was glad that I'd attack it for real. However, after reading more than half, I gave myself permission to not read another word. What an odd book. I have to say, some of the story "starts" were interesting and well written, but by about the 5th one, I got tired of being dropped mid-story only to return to the author's self-indulgent treatise on his disgruntlement with the writing and publishing process. If you carefully pick through, there are interesting philosophical sentences on human nature and reading, but the excess around these made for my feeling it was a tremendous waste of time... and when do I ever feel that way about a book?!!more
Watch out, Reader; here everything is different from what it seems, everything is two-faced…You are about to read a review of If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino… Ok, I will not attempt to mimic Calvino’s style, though it would be interesting to write a review referring to a second-person You or Dear Reader. In any case, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller is a brilliant book in more ways than one. Not only does it tell an affecting story, but it is also a bit of a puzzler, with multiple stories told within the main story.Calvino begins the book with a scene that introduces the mind-bending scope of the book: A reader goes into a bookshop to buy a book; specifically, Italo Calvino’s new book, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller. The same book I am reviewing. Or is it? This is only one of the tricks in Calvino’s hall of mirrors. The main story of the book concerns the Reader (me?), his experience of reading different books, and his meeting with the Other (female) Reader. Each time the Reader begins to read a book (beginning with If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller), just when the book’s opening premise is being unfolded, he (the Reader is male) is interrupted in his reading by some or other unexpected event. The first time, it is because the book has been bound incorrectly, with the same opening section repeating. When he goes to the bookshop to get a new version, he meets the Other Reader, who has the same problem. And so a strange journey to the heart of reading begins, with the Reader exploring different books while trying to get into a relationship with the Other Reader.After a while, you realise that the main story and the other stories are not hermetically sealed from each other; they influence each other in subtle, often unobtrusive ways. The strange thing is that the main story seems more realistic than the other stories, initially at least. At first, it also seems more prosaic than the other stories the Reader reads. But this is thrown out of the window later, as the Reader chases Ludmilla (ah, the Other Reader has a name!) around the world. The main story still remains more “formulaic” than the other stories: it is the classic boy meets girl, boy tries to get into girl’s pants story (a simplification, true, but still). As with Calvino’s Invisible Cities, the subsidiary stories often seem like they could be more interesting than the main story. It seems that Calvino takes great joy in letting his imagination run free when creating scenarios, but he prefers to string the reader (the Reader?) along and then leave him (her?) hanging. Some of the secondary stories obviously cannot be taken further than the initial scenario, as they are circular, even insular, in construction, but some others seem like brilliant openings that could lead anywhere.Calvino has entertaining things to say about reading and reading habits. This, for instance, could be the motto for anyone with a to-be-read pile of books:In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read, which were frowning at you from tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn’t Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days are Numbered.And so on. My favourite category of books Calvino mentions has to be the Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified. Yes, dammit, you books know who you are! Calvino’s eccentric humour also shines through in this section.He also writes entertainingly about writers and their existential condition. For instance, he has a whole section of the main story related through the diary of “Silas Flannery”, a mock Irish writer. At the end of this section, Flannery writes:I have had the idea of writing a novel composed only of beginnings of novels. The protagonist could be a Reader who is continually interrupted. The Reader buys the new novel A by the author Z. But it is a defective copy, he can’t go beyond the beginning… He returns to the bookshop to have the volume exchanged…Oh, what a tangled web Calvino weaves! Everything is smoke and mirrors, even the ending.I thought this book was very clever – perhaps too clever, but that is debatable. I enjoyed it immensely, and will soon be reading more of Calvino’s books. But now it is time to read something a bit more straightforward…more
IoaWNaT employs the rarely used 2nd-person point of view. It begins with describing you in the act of preparing to read the book, as the author makes broad assumptions about you in order to be inclusive and draw you in. Later on, Calvino establishes a more specific character for you and some fictional events: you are male, and you encounter printing errors with your copy. This begins your quest to find a correctly printed one, only to encounter a sequence of other novel fragments that for various reasons also break off and leave you hanging.The impression isn't so much that of a proper novel as of a collection of unfinished short works that showcase various styles and aims, linked together by an artful framing story. I read it initially as an ode to the importance and love of reading, seeing it as a metafiction - fiction about fiction, like I'd previously encountered through allegory in Ende's "The Neverending Story." There's still the other side of the coin to be considered, and a great part of the fun lies in the slow reveal of what exactly the author is driving at with all this peculiar construction.I liked the inserted sly, self-aware commentary on how each story was being told, and how this later spills over into the portions between. During the bridging segments I began to anticipate Ludmilla's veiled introductions to each story with her "the novel I would like to read now" dialogue. Meanwhile, Calvino doesn't merely display his talents as a virtuoso in accomplishing each instance of what Ludmilla is seeking; he relates the inner workings of each narrator's mind to determine why they would want to tell their story in the way Ludmilla describes. IoaWNaT takes a while to live up to its first chapter's promise as a book to get lost in, but it does come - for me it finally happened with Chapter Eight's explicit outline of intent. This puzzle of a book was ultimately very rewarding, and I see more Italo Calvino in my future.more
I had really high expectations for this one. I did love some parts, especially the last two chapters, but other parts were an absolute chore and I couldn't keep interested. However, it's undeniably clever, very imaginative and a worthy read.more
Though difficult at times, I found this novel generally rewarding. It started out wonderfully, but did bog down toward the end. It is notable as an important work of its time, but it holds up as more than a mere historical slice of post-modernism. Calvino is an impressively intelligent writer. If you like Borges and Eco, this is worth a read.more
One of my favourite postmodern works. The narrative within the narrative lends a very interesting dimension to the book. The final point of the book, however,may seem to be lost while the reader tries to bring the threads of the stories together. The end result, though a loose end, is in fact quite satisfying. I would love to re-read this again and again.more
One of the few books I know of written in second person perspective. A true book-lover's book, spiraling around itself over and over, turning meta and metaphor on their heads. It's absolutely crazy and you might really hate it or you might laugh from the very beginning and love every second of it. I own three editions of this book and look forward to re-reading it several times.more
Much of the time while reading Italo Calvino's "If On A Winter's Night A Traveler" I felt like I was examining a beautiful treasure map from an ancient, long lost culture -- I could appreciate the map for its aesthetic qualities but would have no clue where it was telling me to go. For much of the novel, I wondered if Calvino just decided he had a bunch of half-started stories he wanted to get rid of so he found a way to toss them into a novel. All that said, I really enjoyed the book anyway, even though it took me until the penultimate chapter to understand what the heck was going on. I found the stories (told in an alternating manner of a reader just trying to find the ending to a book...) and the various stories so compelling it was tough to put the book down. The narrative structure alone makes this an interesting read and it's really interesting how the story comes together in the end.more
Or "Nine First Chapters In Search of a Narrative" Calvino's "If On a Winter's Night a Traveler" might be the thorniest, grandest, most ambitious post-everything meta-novel I've ever read. It's full of starts, stops, in-jokes and digressions, but in the end, it turns out to be an interesting, and perhaps even heartfelt, meditation on the act of reading. Indeed, even readers that would rather skip Calvino's philosophizing and theorizing might be able to identify with his characters' unquenchable desires to curl up with a good book and sink into an engrossing narrative. Both the author's descriptions of reading, which are sensuous to the point of decadence, and his semi-serious theorizing posit that escape through literature is one of life's most fundamental, and perhaps guiltiest, pleasures. Even though it sings the praises of readers and reading, "If On a Winter's Night" is a pretty difficult proposition. I started it three or four times before being able to read it through. Even the novel's "literary" chapters are stuffed with subtle connections, word games, and odd stylistic stratagems. Calvino seems to want to get his readers to slow down and think about the way that we read, to reconsider a process that most of us perform automatically and, in a sense, unthinkingly. He even describes the letters on the pages of his novel taking on the characteristics of the story they tell, almost becoming physical elements in the fictional universe that they're creating. Still, difficult as it is, the book is not without it's humor. "Winter's Night" sometimes recalls Thomas Pynchon in his loopy, conspiracy-minded mode, and the plot of Calvino's novel, if it can be called that, features dysfunctional publishing houses, female commandos, and secret agents all obsessed to the point of fanaticism with literary fiction. Still, it's obvious that Calvino has written these nine beginnings in order to further his discussion about literary theory and the art of reading, and many readers will, I fear, find them a bit stiff. I could blame his translator - the novel's own characters would - but I get the impression that Calvino's a better theorist than a storyteller. It's another sort of book entirely, but David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas," which seems to have borrowed heavily from Calvino's bag of tricks, pulled the novels-within-novels trope off much more gracefully. At its close, the "Winter's Night" drifts towards a netherworld reminiscent, perhaps, of Borges, as the author asks some basic questions about what literature is trying to accomplish and why we, as readers, feel compelled to read it. The answers he comes up with a thought provoking and perhaps even inspiring. I'm glad I had the patience and fortitude to conquer this one.more
While many other works of metafiction appeal to the minds of writers, the playful and enigmatic 'If on a winter's night a traveler' was created more for the individuals who identify themselves as avid readers. In fact, you as the reader take on the role of the protagonist. With each chapter, you (you - the Reader) begin reading a book and for varying reasons have to cease this endeavor, always right at the peak of suspense. Snapped back into reality, the Reader has to track down what has happened to the remainder of the story, only to find and begin other stories along the way - all of which end just as abruptly. In this journey to find a tale that ends, the Reader encounters a beautiful woman who shares his passion for reading. The two find themselves caught up conspiracies regarding the falsification and ghostwriting of other novels by multitudes of secret organizations and counter-organizations. Author Italo Calvino asks the reader (Reader?) several open-ended questions regarding how we read books and the roles of both the author and reader. There is a specific focus on what books mean to certain people, as well as what makes a work authentic or original. These interesting conversations provide a lot to think about, although I'd be lying if I said this were an easy read. Some portions are rather difficult to get through, and a few of the mini-novels don't hold up to be as engaging as the others. Regardless, if you have the time and are feeling up to reading a strange, playful, meta-and-then-some book, you'll get a kick out of this.more
An adventure story about reading, and writing, and creating, and falsifying, and re-creating, and translating, and living. An adventure story about the Gift (the Spirit) that is Literature. A Book about Why, How, When, What, and Where we read Literature. A Book about the Pure Pleasure of Literature. A Book where Form and Content are one in the same. I couldn't stop reading this. I wanted to be forever entangled within its web, its kaleidoscope of characters and worlds, its stories within stories interrupted. And that's why of course, I could never --more
Really fantastic book! I can't resist the books that start out in second-person, thus speaking directly to me. In the beginning, it really seemed as if the narrator was in my mind and I could actually imagine myself being the Reader. As I read farther, the Reader started to develop more characteristics (such as being male, for one) so that feeling of being an actual character in the book didn't last, but I still loved it. The chapters that focused on the Reader were my favorite of the novel, and I sped through those parts. The stories told were pretty interesting too, except for a couple that I really coudn't get into: Without fear of wind or vertigo and In a network of lines that intersect weren't really to my taste, but that was bound to happen considering how different each story is from the other. Looks down in the gathering shadow was by far my favorite of the ten stories. I wish that one was a full-length novel (I truly felt the Reader's frustration in not being able to finish that particular book). What a way to begin a story!--a man driving around with a dead guy that he's trying to get rid of. How Calvino set up the stories in the first few chapters was amazing. Here's a sample from the opening of the first story, If on a winter's night a traveler: The novel begins in a railway station, a locomotive huffs, steam from a piston covers the opening of the chapter, a cloud of smoke hides part of the first paragraph...The pages of the book are clouded like the windows of an old train, the cloud of smoke rests on the sentences. I repeat: A-ma-zing. It really makes you feel as if you're sitting right in the middle of the action and that you're truly a part of the setting. He doesn't use this method of immersion in all the stories, unfortunately, but the entire book is truly wonderful. It's a new favorite of mine.more
Two readers start the same novel by Italo Calvino only to find everything after the first chapter is missing. Their quest to read the rest of the book leads them to other books which for various reason only begin, to authors who do not exist and writers imitating other writers.This book is very cleverly written, mixing the "beginnings of stories" into the quest for the complete story.This book is so multi-layered that it requires the reader to "pay attention". You will lose your way in the story if you lose concentration.more
Reading about reading about reading. Readers and Other Readers, reading each others' lives into their own. How much of life and literature is text and intent, how much projection and abstraction? The lines begin to blur by the time you get through this one... and that doesn't seem like such a bad thing. Not for everyone, but if you're into experimental narrative and pomo playfulness, by all means.more
Really pulls off the 2nd person narration well. I loved reading this book, more so than a great many of the books I've read, and found myself analyzing my own reasons for reading. Any book that can make me think critically and also be compellingly well-written is a great book to me, and this one certainly fits the criteria.more
50. [If on a winter's night a traveler] by Italo Calvino. Italo Calvino is a brilliant writer. I would argue he's more brilliant because he realizes he's brilliant and makes sure you realize it too. But here's the catch, he does it and it doesn't seem pretentious. That's brilliance in my book. Apparently, it's brilliance in Calvino's too. In "If on a winter's night a traveler . . ." the reader is somewhat a part of the story. At first, this was very promising an idea and actually good for some laughs or at least some self-reflecting smiles. But I'm not convinced he managed to pull the reader into actually being a part of the story as strongly as I felt he was doing at first. Still, it was a well-written piece and while it might not again have reached the laugh-out-loud moments of the first chapter, it was still amusing and enjoyable.more
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Reviews

There are terribly few authors that can write experimentally while remaining humorous, engaging, and heartfelt. Calvino is one of the bunch. Each chapter of this book manages to capture the reader's attention in new and unexpected ways- all while maintaining a separate narrative and thematic thread. Probably a great place to start for someone new to his work...though my favorites remain Invisible CIties and The Baron in the Trees.more
I should really finish re-reading this for a book club before I write a full review...let's just say that this one is probably Calvino's most experimental (atleast of the ones I've read) and is just as challenging as it is rewarding. There are abrupt discontinuations of plots and characters and at least five mismatched stories meshed into one...it begins in a fairly half-hazard way after Calvino invites you to get comfortable (do put your feet up, now!) and free yourself from any interruptions. Pretty soon, we go back and forth between the novel characters and the characters of the people reading it whose novels were misprinted and what they were reading turns out to be a Polish novel...


The readers of the original novel buy the Polish novel, which is nothing like what they (or we) were reading and that turns out to be something else entirely. We are continually addressed as the reader and so is the reader searching to simply finish the original story. I'm up to pg. 63 again and I have no idea what story I'm reading or when it switched from one to another at this point (even though I've read this 5 yrs. ago, that doesn't seem to help.) We become like the readers who believe the book was misprinted and they will never get back to the original story...somehow, we feel lost in the plot. There's a little bit in us that suffers the loss of what could have been with each character we lose track of. We find ourselves not wanting to make permanent relationships with the new characters, thinking we will soon lose track of them again anyhow.


The very fact of the matter is, I believe Calvino does this purposefully...it's as if he is examining simultaneously the process of reading with the process of writing. It's mainly about form at this point though if memory serves, there is more substance at later points. In any case, a must for fans of experimental fiction, esp. if willing to struggle with the unpredictable and disorienting.more
"every thinking activity implies mirrors for me. According to Plotinus, the soul is a mirror that creates material things reflecting the ideas of the higher reason. Maybe this is why I need mirrors to think: I cannot concentrate except in the presence of reflected images, as if my soul needed a model to imitate every time it wanted to employ its speculative capacity."

This isn't a review ,only my thoughts.my friends have written amazing ones.

first it is a brilliant work of the imagination,a group of novels that melt,mix and reflect one another,a ten beginnings each one is completely different from the other

My favorite one was
(Leaning from the steep slope),i really loved it!

"I am becoming convinced that the world wants to tell me something, send me messages, signals, warnings"

"I have tended to reduce the presence of darkness in my life. The doctors' prohibition of going out after sunset has confined me for months within the boundaries of the daytime world. But this is not all: the fact is that I find in the day's light, in this diffused, pale, almost shadowless luminosity, a darkness deeper than the night's."


Besides, the one talking about Cimmerians
I even searched the web to know more about them.
Cimmerians or Kimmerians who were an ancient Indo-European people living north of the Caucasus and the Sea of Azov until they were driven southward by the Scythians.

Liked the idea of the search for lost civilizations
It enriches and widen the scope of my understanding.

and in the Sea of Identities..

Calvino get across this subject at least for me.

May be I am a good observer or I looked to things in a different way.

This novel is like a Village of Many Nations.

And i searched for mine and I somehow find it ...

" the squat Arab garbage collector who in October begins his rounds for tips, house by house, with a Happy New Year card, because he says that his colleagues keep all the December tips for themselves and he never gets a penny"

I wander...

" Who is an Arab?

And how could anyone know that a person is (an Arab?)
Why he didn’t give him an identity.
Or a nationality
Only an Arab.
A vague description
not easy to define what is meant by an Arab.
language is not sufficient criterion of Arabness

Egyptians for examples are anthropologically Copts who speak Arabic
North Africans are mainly Amazigh..and etc...


"the young Sultana wrote to the translator, protesting. Marana rushed to Arabia. "An old woman, veiled and bleary, motioned me to follow her. In a roofed garden, among the bergamots and the lyrebirds and the jets of fountains, she came toward me, cloaked in indigo, a mask on her face, green silk dotted with white gold, a strand of aquamarines on her brow...."

And what is Arabia?
There Isn't any country named Arabia.
Another vague reference.

" Having gained the African dictator's trust, having regained that of the Celtic writer "

"in the African airport, among the hostages of the hijacking who are waiting sprawled on the ground"

Also only an African
And in the novel
Chinese and Japanese are not called Asians...
And polish,Irish and french are not called European...
This is one of the reasons why I didn’t rate it three but two.


at first i was excited and Curious to follow the novel, I
wanted to rate it five stars because of the great quotes , the unique idea and the interesting description.

But then it became boring and irritating.
and Not as strong as it begins.

i don't know why i didn't enjoy reading it,may be my expectation was very high.

My apologies to those who love this book and especially my Friends.
:)

more
Such an amazingly inventive and sophisticatedly wacky novel! Really a unique read and totally worth it!more
"YO DAWG, I HEARD YOU LIKE READING, SO I PUT A BOOK IN YO' BOOK, SO YOU CAN READ WHILE YO' READ."more
During my reading of this book (not even my first Calvino) all I could think of was "gee, post-modern!" After reading it I read a few other reviews which all seemed to make prominent use of the "p.m." word.

Much as I dislike all the open subjectivity; the noodling, Philosophy seminar rambling; the plastic taste and chilled emotion; irony galore... all those pomo standards... Calvino makes it more fun than his contemporaries.

Some of his devices are a bit forced I think, and don't quite live up to what I think he may have hoped for (the 2nd person narrative--wasn't buying it.) Still he's irreverently fun, clever in his plot twists and unlike many deeply post-modern authors, his points are worth their bulk.

Start with Invisible Cities or Numbers in the Dark though.more
I've wanted to read this book for years, purely based on the title. It was nothing like I was expecting - it's a post-modern tour de force, which is more about why we read and what we experience or expect when we do read, rather than a straightforward narrative. A quotation from the book sums it up: "He always feels as if he is on the verge of grasping the decisive point, but then it eludes him and he is left with a sensation of uneasiness".Beautifully written, thought-provoking, and clever, but don't read it you are looking for a story in which to lose yourself.more
Sometimes I felt like the Reader searching for the ending to every book he started in 'If On A Winter's Night A Traveler'. I had been searching for any copy of this book for years, and then I found the very edition I wanted: with the three different colored, different sized Calvino books stacked on the cover. It's perfect. (I'm always lucky on betterworldbooks.com!) Calvino starts with an amazing first chapter that will hook any book fan. I had a laugh when it described the Reader turning to the back of the book first, to see how many pages there were. I had just done the same thing with this book! I love the image of the war zone in the bookshop: books in ranks ready to ambush you with categories like "Books You've Been Planning To Read For Ages" or "Books You Need To Go With Other Books On Your Shelves" [pg.5]. I think the first chapter is the best set-up and the best part.. though the whole book is amazing. The Reader starts 'If On A Winter's Night A Traveler' but finds he has a defective copy. While he is at the bookshop complaining, he meets the Other Reader, there for the same reason. They both are led from one book to the next, trying to find an ending to the previous book, but only finding more books without endings, missing for different reasons. Each of the stories here are perfect on their own, even if they do not have endings. I thought it would be irritating reading a bunch of stories without endings, but without the cliffhangers, they wouldn't be the same. I couldn't single out any of the stories because they are all unique, interesting, memorable. But the alternating Reader chapters had even more interesting ideas (usually about books), and no matter how fun the stories were, I still wanted to get back to the Reader's journey. Along the way he meets: the Unreader who'd rather make art from books instead of read them, the Other Reader's sister who reads books by finding out the frequently used words with a program and deciding what the book is like that way, Silas Flannery who wrote some of the stories.. or maybe it was the "treacherous translator" who wrote them. This book is definitely a fun time for book nerds. With the entire book full of speculations on all things books, I'd say Calvino wrote a love letter to books. It's tough to compare it to anything else. This is very worthy for the 1001 list. Possibly my favorite book of the year...no definitely. I can't wait to read more from Calvino, and I'm glad I was able to eventually find a copy of this one!more
Sometimes the descriptions of books are more interesting than the actual book, and to an extent, this is the case with this book by Calvino. It is a "novel" written in the second person, which concerns a Reader whose efforts to finish a book are continually thwarted, leading him on a quest which results in reading the beginning of ten different books instead of ever getting to the end of the one he started. In fact, most of the ten beginnings Calvino presents work well as self-contained short stories. Only a couple really left me wanting to know what happens next, so one could assume that the whole construct of ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER is just a framework for the author to present these stories. Calvino is doing a lot more than that, however. Each story is quite different in subject matter and, at least somewhat, in style. I say "somewhat" because the voice I kept hearing throughout this book was that of Jorge Luis Borges, whose own stories provided a similar (though more intense) sense of intellectual exploration, alternate realities, and the importance of literature. To his credit, Calvino is funnier (and more erotic) than Borges. The framework story of the Reader seeking the companionship of a female reader, who like him, started with an incomplete copy of ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER, is entertaining and comes to a nice conclusion. Along the way, Calvino tells us a lot about writers, writing, readers, and reading. Much of it is fascinating, and anyone who feels consumed by the need to devour books (as I do) can't help but be amused and entertained along the way. Still, at the end, I wasn't left with the feeling of having read a great literary classic--just a clever book by an intelligent writer.more
Intermittently fascinating and dull. Mostly, it's a book about how reading and writing are structured, and many compelling ideas are raised and examined. But this is interspersed with excerpts from "novels" that are supposed to engage yet never satisfy the reader... unfortunately, I thought these ersatz novels almost universally banal, and found myself skimming them.more
thorold's new review of Italo Calvino's novel If on a winter's night a traveller, which you are about to begin reading, is a little masterpiece of the form: not at all the sort of half-baked amateur reviewing you would expect to find on the internet, but more the sort of thing to be savoured in the august columns of one of the snootier literary reviews. It is elegant, concise, and will give you the clearest possible idea of what the experience of reading the book might be like. In fact, it almost renders the actual reading of the book superfluous. Surprisingly for thorold, a reviewer who has previously shown a ponderous propensity to parade parody and pomposity before us (who could forget his painfully silly review of the Oxford University Examination decrees and regulations?), on this occasion he has found just the right line, avoiding both infantile humour and sententious pontification. Superfluous and excessive redundant adjectives are banished, adverbs quietly suppressed, and the sentence structure is crisp and sharp. This is a review to be read reclining in a leather armchair with a glass of dry sherry at your elbow. It is a review, indeed, that might be said to require a plate of cashew nuts and a string quartet playing Haydn. Sit back, relax, and enjoy it.more
A lot of style and not a lot of substance. Or at least not enough for me. Calvino's craftsmanship earns a positive review.I would recommend Pale Fire over this one.more
I've started this book twice before in the last 20 years, and never got very far (which is odd for me). So when my bookgroup decided to read it, I was glad that I'd attack it for real. However, after reading more than half, I gave myself permission to not read another word. What an odd book. I have to say, some of the story "starts" were interesting and well written, but by about the 5th one, I got tired of being dropped mid-story only to return to the author's self-indulgent treatise on his disgruntlement with the writing and publishing process. If you carefully pick through, there are interesting philosophical sentences on human nature and reading, but the excess around these made for my feeling it was a tremendous waste of time... and when do I ever feel that way about a book?!!more
Watch out, Reader; here everything is different from what it seems, everything is two-faced…You are about to read a review of If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino… Ok, I will not attempt to mimic Calvino’s style, though it would be interesting to write a review referring to a second-person You or Dear Reader. In any case, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller is a brilliant book in more ways than one. Not only does it tell an affecting story, but it is also a bit of a puzzler, with multiple stories told within the main story.Calvino begins the book with a scene that introduces the mind-bending scope of the book: A reader goes into a bookshop to buy a book; specifically, Italo Calvino’s new book, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller. The same book I am reviewing. Or is it? This is only one of the tricks in Calvino’s hall of mirrors. The main story of the book concerns the Reader (me?), his experience of reading different books, and his meeting with the Other (female) Reader. Each time the Reader begins to read a book (beginning with If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller), just when the book’s opening premise is being unfolded, he (the Reader is male) is interrupted in his reading by some or other unexpected event. The first time, it is because the book has been bound incorrectly, with the same opening section repeating. When he goes to the bookshop to get a new version, he meets the Other Reader, who has the same problem. And so a strange journey to the heart of reading begins, with the Reader exploring different books while trying to get into a relationship with the Other Reader.After a while, you realise that the main story and the other stories are not hermetically sealed from each other; they influence each other in subtle, often unobtrusive ways. The strange thing is that the main story seems more realistic than the other stories, initially at least. At first, it also seems more prosaic than the other stories the Reader reads. But this is thrown out of the window later, as the Reader chases Ludmilla (ah, the Other Reader has a name!) around the world. The main story still remains more “formulaic” than the other stories: it is the classic boy meets girl, boy tries to get into girl’s pants story (a simplification, true, but still). As with Calvino’s Invisible Cities, the subsidiary stories often seem like they could be more interesting than the main story. It seems that Calvino takes great joy in letting his imagination run free when creating scenarios, but he prefers to string the reader (the Reader?) along and then leave him (her?) hanging. Some of the secondary stories obviously cannot be taken further than the initial scenario, as they are circular, even insular, in construction, but some others seem like brilliant openings that could lead anywhere.Calvino has entertaining things to say about reading and reading habits. This, for instance, could be the motto for anyone with a to-be-read pile of books:In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read, which were frowning at you from tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn’t Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days are Numbered.And so on. My favourite category of books Calvino mentions has to be the Books That Fill You With Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified. Yes, dammit, you books know who you are! Calvino’s eccentric humour also shines through in this section.He also writes entertainingly about writers and their existential condition. For instance, he has a whole section of the main story related through the diary of “Silas Flannery”, a mock Irish writer. At the end of this section, Flannery writes:I have had the idea of writing a novel composed only of beginnings of novels. The protagonist could be a Reader who is continually interrupted. The Reader buys the new novel A by the author Z. But it is a defective copy, he can’t go beyond the beginning… He returns to the bookshop to have the volume exchanged…Oh, what a tangled web Calvino weaves! Everything is smoke and mirrors, even the ending.I thought this book was very clever – perhaps too clever, but that is debatable. I enjoyed it immensely, and will soon be reading more of Calvino’s books. But now it is time to read something a bit more straightforward…more
IoaWNaT employs the rarely used 2nd-person point of view. It begins with describing you in the act of preparing to read the book, as the author makes broad assumptions about you in order to be inclusive and draw you in. Later on, Calvino establishes a more specific character for you and some fictional events: you are male, and you encounter printing errors with your copy. This begins your quest to find a correctly printed one, only to encounter a sequence of other novel fragments that for various reasons also break off and leave you hanging.The impression isn't so much that of a proper novel as of a collection of unfinished short works that showcase various styles and aims, linked together by an artful framing story. I read it initially as an ode to the importance and love of reading, seeing it as a metafiction - fiction about fiction, like I'd previously encountered through allegory in Ende's "The Neverending Story." There's still the other side of the coin to be considered, and a great part of the fun lies in the slow reveal of what exactly the author is driving at with all this peculiar construction.I liked the inserted sly, self-aware commentary on how each story was being told, and how this later spills over into the portions between. During the bridging segments I began to anticipate Ludmilla's veiled introductions to each story with her "the novel I would like to read now" dialogue. Meanwhile, Calvino doesn't merely display his talents as a virtuoso in accomplishing each instance of what Ludmilla is seeking; he relates the inner workings of each narrator's mind to determine why they would want to tell their story in the way Ludmilla describes. IoaWNaT takes a while to live up to its first chapter's promise as a book to get lost in, but it does come - for me it finally happened with Chapter Eight's explicit outline of intent. This puzzle of a book was ultimately very rewarding, and I see more Italo Calvino in my future.more
I had really high expectations for this one. I did love some parts, especially the last two chapters, but other parts were an absolute chore and I couldn't keep interested. However, it's undeniably clever, very imaginative and a worthy read.more
Though difficult at times, I found this novel generally rewarding. It started out wonderfully, but did bog down toward the end. It is notable as an important work of its time, but it holds up as more than a mere historical slice of post-modernism. Calvino is an impressively intelligent writer. If you like Borges and Eco, this is worth a read.more
One of my favourite postmodern works. The narrative within the narrative lends a very interesting dimension to the book. The final point of the book, however,may seem to be lost while the reader tries to bring the threads of the stories together. The end result, though a loose end, is in fact quite satisfying. I would love to re-read this again and again.more
One of the few books I know of written in second person perspective. A true book-lover's book, spiraling around itself over and over, turning meta and metaphor on their heads. It's absolutely crazy and you might really hate it or you might laugh from the very beginning and love every second of it. I own three editions of this book and look forward to re-reading it several times.more
Much of the time while reading Italo Calvino's "If On A Winter's Night A Traveler" I felt like I was examining a beautiful treasure map from an ancient, long lost culture -- I could appreciate the map for its aesthetic qualities but would have no clue where it was telling me to go. For much of the novel, I wondered if Calvino just decided he had a bunch of half-started stories he wanted to get rid of so he found a way to toss them into a novel. All that said, I really enjoyed the book anyway, even though it took me until the penultimate chapter to understand what the heck was going on. I found the stories (told in an alternating manner of a reader just trying to find the ending to a book...) and the various stories so compelling it was tough to put the book down. The narrative structure alone makes this an interesting read and it's really interesting how the story comes together in the end.more
Or "Nine First Chapters In Search of a Narrative" Calvino's "If On a Winter's Night a Traveler" might be the thorniest, grandest, most ambitious post-everything meta-novel I've ever read. It's full of starts, stops, in-jokes and digressions, but in the end, it turns out to be an interesting, and perhaps even heartfelt, meditation on the act of reading. Indeed, even readers that would rather skip Calvino's philosophizing and theorizing might be able to identify with his characters' unquenchable desires to curl up with a good book and sink into an engrossing narrative. Both the author's descriptions of reading, which are sensuous to the point of decadence, and his semi-serious theorizing posit that escape through literature is one of life's most fundamental, and perhaps guiltiest, pleasures. Even though it sings the praises of readers and reading, "If On a Winter's Night" is a pretty difficult proposition. I started it three or four times before being able to read it through. Even the novel's "literary" chapters are stuffed with subtle connections, word games, and odd stylistic stratagems. Calvino seems to want to get his readers to slow down and think about the way that we read, to reconsider a process that most of us perform automatically and, in a sense, unthinkingly. He even describes the letters on the pages of his novel taking on the characteristics of the story they tell, almost becoming physical elements in the fictional universe that they're creating. Still, difficult as it is, the book is not without it's humor. "Winter's Night" sometimes recalls Thomas Pynchon in his loopy, conspiracy-minded mode, and the plot of Calvino's novel, if it can be called that, features dysfunctional publishing houses, female commandos, and secret agents all obsessed to the point of fanaticism with literary fiction. Still, it's obvious that Calvino has written these nine beginnings in order to further his discussion about literary theory and the art of reading, and many readers will, I fear, find them a bit stiff. I could blame his translator - the novel's own characters would - but I get the impression that Calvino's a better theorist than a storyteller. It's another sort of book entirely, but David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas," which seems to have borrowed heavily from Calvino's bag of tricks, pulled the novels-within-novels trope off much more gracefully. At its close, the "Winter's Night" drifts towards a netherworld reminiscent, perhaps, of Borges, as the author asks some basic questions about what literature is trying to accomplish and why we, as readers, feel compelled to read it. The answers he comes up with a thought provoking and perhaps even inspiring. I'm glad I had the patience and fortitude to conquer this one.more
While many other works of metafiction appeal to the minds of writers, the playful and enigmatic 'If on a winter's night a traveler' was created more for the individuals who identify themselves as avid readers. In fact, you as the reader take on the role of the protagonist. With each chapter, you (you - the Reader) begin reading a book and for varying reasons have to cease this endeavor, always right at the peak of suspense. Snapped back into reality, the Reader has to track down what has happened to the remainder of the story, only to find and begin other stories along the way - all of which end just as abruptly. In this journey to find a tale that ends, the Reader encounters a beautiful woman who shares his passion for reading. The two find themselves caught up conspiracies regarding the falsification and ghostwriting of other novels by multitudes of secret organizations and counter-organizations. Author Italo Calvino asks the reader (Reader?) several open-ended questions regarding how we read books and the roles of both the author and reader. There is a specific focus on what books mean to certain people, as well as what makes a work authentic or original. These interesting conversations provide a lot to think about, although I'd be lying if I said this were an easy read. Some portions are rather difficult to get through, and a few of the mini-novels don't hold up to be as engaging as the others. Regardless, if you have the time and are feeling up to reading a strange, playful, meta-and-then-some book, you'll get a kick out of this.more
An adventure story about reading, and writing, and creating, and falsifying, and re-creating, and translating, and living. An adventure story about the Gift (the Spirit) that is Literature. A Book about Why, How, When, What, and Where we read Literature. A Book about the Pure Pleasure of Literature. A Book where Form and Content are one in the same. I couldn't stop reading this. I wanted to be forever entangled within its web, its kaleidoscope of characters and worlds, its stories within stories interrupted. And that's why of course, I could never --more
Really fantastic book! I can't resist the books that start out in second-person, thus speaking directly to me. In the beginning, it really seemed as if the narrator was in my mind and I could actually imagine myself being the Reader. As I read farther, the Reader started to develop more characteristics (such as being male, for one) so that feeling of being an actual character in the book didn't last, but I still loved it. The chapters that focused on the Reader were my favorite of the novel, and I sped through those parts. The stories told were pretty interesting too, except for a couple that I really coudn't get into: Without fear of wind or vertigo and In a network of lines that intersect weren't really to my taste, but that was bound to happen considering how different each story is from the other. Looks down in the gathering shadow was by far my favorite of the ten stories. I wish that one was a full-length novel (I truly felt the Reader's frustration in not being able to finish that particular book). What a way to begin a story!--a man driving around with a dead guy that he's trying to get rid of. How Calvino set up the stories in the first few chapters was amazing. Here's a sample from the opening of the first story, If on a winter's night a traveler: The novel begins in a railway station, a locomotive huffs, steam from a piston covers the opening of the chapter, a cloud of smoke hides part of the first paragraph...The pages of the book are clouded like the windows of an old train, the cloud of smoke rests on the sentences. I repeat: A-ma-zing. It really makes you feel as if you're sitting right in the middle of the action and that you're truly a part of the setting. He doesn't use this method of immersion in all the stories, unfortunately, but the entire book is truly wonderful. It's a new favorite of mine.more
Two readers start the same novel by Italo Calvino only to find everything after the first chapter is missing. Their quest to read the rest of the book leads them to other books which for various reason only begin, to authors who do not exist and writers imitating other writers.This book is very cleverly written, mixing the "beginnings of stories" into the quest for the complete story.This book is so multi-layered that it requires the reader to "pay attention". You will lose your way in the story if you lose concentration.more
Reading about reading about reading. Readers and Other Readers, reading each others' lives into their own. How much of life and literature is text and intent, how much projection and abstraction? The lines begin to blur by the time you get through this one... and that doesn't seem like such a bad thing. Not for everyone, but if you're into experimental narrative and pomo playfulness, by all means.more
Really pulls off the 2nd person narration well. I loved reading this book, more so than a great many of the books I've read, and found myself analyzing my own reasons for reading. Any book that can make me think critically and also be compellingly well-written is a great book to me, and this one certainly fits the criteria.more
50. [If on a winter's night a traveler] by Italo Calvino. Italo Calvino is a brilliant writer. I would argue he's more brilliant because he realizes he's brilliant and makes sure you realize it too. But here's the catch, he does it and it doesn't seem pretentious. That's brilliance in my book. Apparently, it's brilliance in Calvino's too. In "If on a winter's night a traveler . . ." the reader is somewhat a part of the story. At first, this was very promising an idea and actually good for some laughs or at least some self-reflecting smiles. But I'm not convinced he managed to pull the reader into actually being a part of the story as strongly as I felt he was doing at first. Still, it was a well-written piece and while it might not again have reached the laugh-out-loud moments of the first chapter, it was still amusing and enjoyable.more
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