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If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo…

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979)

by Italo Calvino

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,142187327 (4.06)1 / 448
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    Artran: Metafiction, stories within stories, tale about power of storytelling, Ajvaz wittingly elaborate Calvino's aesthetics.
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English (168)  French (5)  Italian (4)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  Norwegian (1)  All (1)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (188)
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
It’s an interesting concept for a book, with short story fragments alternating with a story line about two readers, but there was too much meta-discussion about writing and reading, and Calvino directly addressing the reader for my taste. It’s certainly ambitious and creative, and demands something of the reader, so if you like that sort of thing, it may be for you. I just found myself mired in banal and tedious passages too often to recommend it. ( )
1 vote gbill | Jul 10, 2017 |
I highly recommend If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino for lovers of literature – if only for the experience – but I caution only embarking on this journey when you have the time and energy to devote to it. Read our full review of If on a Winter's Night a Traveller >> ( )
  BookloverBookReviews | May 19, 2017 |
Very entertaining, a little too clever at times, and whole lot of self-referential, psychological, and textual reflection. ( )
  cambernard90 | Apr 12, 2017 |
Pretentious! Oh boy. Then again, the person who indirectly recommended it to me began with, "I'm over [b:Infinite Jest|6759|Infinite Jest|David Foster Wallace|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1165604485s/6759.jpg|3271542], Italo Calvino's [b:If on a Winter's Night a Traveler|374233|If on a Winter's Night a Traveler|Italo Calvino|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1355316130s/374233.jpg|1116802] is now my favourite book."

There were a lot of really good aspects to this novel, though I was pretty uninterested in the "Chapters" of the first half. Luckily that grew more appealing in the second, or I was more prepared for it, perhaps, since there had been some significant break between (and this book ran the risk of being unfinished by me). There's some really blatant Orientalism, but the physicality of that section was really tangible, so I was there pursing my lips with frustration at the same time as I was narrowing my eyes with deeper consideration.

Of course I was reading [b:Cloud Atlas|49628|Cloud Atlas|David Mitchell|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1344305390s/49628.jpg|1871423] two months ago so turning to this book was natural and the end result is that I haven't decided how I feel about Italo Calvino. I intend to read [b:Invisible Cities|9809|Invisible Cities|Italo Calvino|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348058607s/9809.jpg|68476] as well, though it will likely wait for summer since I have spent far too much time reading books entirely unrelated to my classes/thesis.

Major bonus: bought this at Bacchus Books while visiting a sister in Golden. Had the prettiest bookmark reading BACCHUS in a large and pleasing typeface. This is how all bookmarks should be. ( )
  likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
A lot of fun! A novel about reading and readers, containing a string of interrupted narratives alongside the book's own story line. The protagonists are the Reader and the Other Reader, but often Calvino talks to you, or you become the Reader, so while you are reading the book Calvino imagines you both the reader of the book and a character in it. While reading he makes you feel as if he is speaking to you, a feat which few writers aim at, and if they do, accomplish.
  bartt95 | Mar 3, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 168 (next | show all)
Re-reading a novel you loved is like revisiting a city where you loved: you do it in the company of your younger self. You may not get on with your younger self, or else the absence of what is missing colours your judgment. Despite my reservations, however, I wouldn't want a word of If on a winter's night a traveller to be different, and if Calvino's ghost seeks me out after this, I'll still get down on my knees and pay homage.

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Calvino, Italoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Benítez, EstherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cooley, StevenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kapari, JormaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kroeber, BurkhartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Melander, VivecaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raboni, GiovanniAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sallenave, DanièleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salu, MichaelCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strömberg, RagnarPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlot, HennyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Walsmith, SheltonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Washington, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weaver, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Daniele Ponchiroli
First words
You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler.
"Your case gives me new hope," I said to him. "With me, more and more often I happen to pick up a novel that has just appeared and I find myself reading the same book I have read a hundred times."
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
If on a winter's night a traveler

Outside the town of Malbork

Leaning from the steep slope

Without fear of wind or vertigo

Looks down in the gathering shadow

In a network of lines that enlace

In a network of lines that intersect

On the carpet of leaves illuminated by the moon

Around an empty grave

What story down there awaits its end?
Haiku summary
Reader do beware / You are just a reader, yet / Here you're subject too. (Ludi_Ling)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156439611, Paperback)

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler is a marvel of ingenuity, an experimental text that looks longingly back to the great age of narration--"when time no longer seemed stopped and did not yet seem to have exploded." Italo Calvino's novel is in one sense a comedy in which the two protagonists, the Reader and the Other Reader, ultimately end up married, having almost finished If on a Winter's Night a Traveler. In another, it is a tragedy, a reflection on the difficulties of writing and the solitary nature of reading. The Reader buys a fashionable new book, which opens with an exhortation: "Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade." Alas, after 30 or so pages, he discovers that his copy is corrupted, and consists of nothing but the first section, over and over. Returning to the bookshop, he discovers the volume, which he thought was by Calvino, is actually by the Polish writer Bazakbal. Given the choice between the two, he goes for the Pole, as does the Other Reader, Ludmilla. But this copy turns out to be by yet another writer, as does the next, and the next.

The real Calvino intersperses 10 different pastiches--stories of menace, spies, mystery, premonition--with explorations of how and why we read, make meanings, and get our bearings or fail to. Meanwhile the Reader and Ludmilla try to reach, and read, each other. If on a Winter's Night is dazzling, vertiginous, and deeply romantic. "What makes lovemaking and reading resemble each other most is that within both of them times and spaces open, different from measurable time and space."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:37 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Two readers, a man and a woman, pursue story lines that intrigue them, in a novel about reading novels.

» see all 5 descriptions

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