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

by Italo Calvino

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,108253493 (4.06)1 / 550
Italo Calvino imagines a novel capable of endless mutations in this intricately crafted story about writing and readers. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambience, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together they form a labyrinth of literatures, known and unknown, alive and extinct, through which two readers, a male and a female, pursue both the story lines that intrigue them and one another.… (more)
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1970s (4)
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 Name that Book: Book about you reading the Book9 unread / 9nbs29, June 2013

» See also 550 mentions

English (221)  Italian (9)  Spanish (6)  French (6)  Dutch (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  German (2)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (254)
Showing 1-5 of 221 (next | show all)
A postmodern experiment by Italo Calvino - a book about books and reading. Interesting for that, and not terribly bad to read, but I found it hard to follow, because the plot jumps around and there are a lot of unfinished fragments of stories in the book. It also descended into outright pretentiousness at some points. Meh. ( )
  finlaaaay | Aug 1, 2023 |
Puoi trovare questa recensione anche sul mio blog ---> La siepe di more

Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore è forse uno dei romanzi più strani che abbia letto nella mia vita. Comincia come una sorta di “storia di un Lettore alle prese con un libro che vuole leggere” nella quale ci possiamo immedesimare facilmente. È sorprendente leggere dell'universalità del comportamento del lettore di fronte alle possibile letture!

Dopo questa introduzione, sembra che il romanzo vero e proprio abbia inizio. Dico “sembra” perché, dopo appena un capitolo, il Lettore scopre che nella sua copia di Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore viene ripetuto sempre lo stesso capitolo a causa di un errore di impaginazione.

Ha così inizio un giallo metaletterario che ci farà leggere i primi capitoli di dieci romanzi diversi, racchiusi da una cornice nella quale si muovono il nostro Lettore e una Lettrice incontrata sulla strada verso la risoluzione di questo mistero letterario.

Dopo un iniziale sconcerto, non si può che appassionarsi al gioco, non troppo giocoso, che Calvino ha saputo costruire (e un po' ce l'abbiamo con lui per aver iniziato dieci storie senza farci sapere come andranno a finire). Si tratta di un vero e proprio sfoggio di abilità letteraria, nel quale l'autore ci racconta storie contenute in romanzi, storie di romanzi, storie di come sono fatti i romanzi. Tutto si mescola e si amalgama, tanto che ci chiediamo: dove andrà a parare?

Andrà a finire con una domanda inespressa, una domanda che il lettore sentirà di doversi fare: ma la vera storia – quella importante, quella che ti resterà dentro – qual è? Quella letta o quella del Lettore? Di primo acchito verrebbe da dire quella del Lettore. Ma se il Lettore non avesse letto non ci sarebbe stata neanche la sua storia – o, perlomeno, questa avrebbe preso vie diverse, forse meno piacevoli.


Quindi penso che Calvino abbia voluto dirci: leggete perché è uno dei piaceri della vita, ma non dimenticate di vivere per leggere. Perché leggere, altrimenti? Per conoscere il mondo, la realtà che ci circonda? Ma se non arriviamo a conoscerla nemmeno in prima persona! Figuriamoci attraverso un altro punto di vista, miope come il nostro.

Si legge per aprire la mente e tenerla aperta: al dubbio, all'incertezza, alle possibilità. Si legge per non aver paura di non avere certezze. Si legge poi per condividere ciò che si è letto: ed è qui che inizia la storia del Lettore e della Lettrice. ( )
  kristi_test_02 | Jul 28, 2023 |
A very self-aware book that explores the relationship of the reader to the story. I like this for its commentary on freedom and the pursuit of truth, and for the Man Who Doesn’t Read. I would also recommend Calvino’s Invisible Cities, which is one of my top 5 travel books. ( )
  Kiramke | Jun 27, 2023 |
Strangest book I’ve ever read ... but I liked it a lot. ( )
  francesanngray | May 6, 2023 |
The further into the book I read, the more I disliked this book. It was confusing, frustrating, and tiring - none of these aid in reading a book. It got to the point towards the end of the book that I just wanted to be done with it. ( )
  Kimberlyhi | Apr 15, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 221 (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 (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Calvino, Italoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
功, 脇Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Benítez, EstherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cooley, StevenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kapari, JormaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kroeber, BurkhartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mays, JeffersonNarratorsecondary 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
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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.
What makes lovemaking and reading resemble each other most is that within both of them times and spaces open, different from time and measurable space.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Italo Calvino imagines a novel capable of endless mutations in this intricately crafted story about writing and readers. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambience, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together they form a labyrinth of literatures, known and unknown, alive and extinct, through which two readers, a male and a female, pursue both the story lines that intrigue them and one another.

No library descriptions found.

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)

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