1 Nov

Soft cover: 260 pages/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

(first published 1979-Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore)

first american edition 1981


I believe I must be a glutton for literary punishment or in the alternative, my reading passion is so great that I would even dare to think of reading Calvino!!

Imagine, if you can, an agonizing reading fever that can only be quenched by reading a book in one swallow. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler is a quintessentially postmodern piece of literature that is breathlessly inventive and at the same time, a reader’s nightmare.

But, you may ask, what is this book about? It is about a reader trying to read a book. It is about the writer (Italo Calvino) who enters the mind of the reader and uses the text as a medium of making the reader think what he (the writer) wants him (the reader) to think.

I savored this book at intervals, in slow methodical bites. This book doesn’t have a plot, literally; the chapters end abruptly, and no matter what you do there is no way to reach redemption. But once you start, you will have no choice but to finish – even if it takes you a year.

Calvino is an acquired taste and not for the literary squeamish. He blurs the lines between  reader and narrator – brilliantly executed. Dazzling.

Trust that this book will not lose sight of you, as the first few sentences caution:

“You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade”

Heed the warning.

Italo Calvino (1923-1985)


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