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If On A Winter's Night A Traveler by…
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If On A Winter's Night A Traveler (original 1979; edition 1979)

by Italo; Weaver Calvino, William, Translator

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
12,557260497 (4.05)1 / 571
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)
Member:delta351
Title:If On A Winter's Night A Traveler
Authors:Italo; Weaver Calvino, William, Translator
Info:Harvest / Harcourt, Inc. (1979), Paperback, 260 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work Information

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino (1979)

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    Artran: Metafiction, stories within stories, tale about power of storytelling, Ajvaz wittingly elaborate Calvino's aesthetics.
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    rebeccanyc: Both books deal with books within books, and have a mysterious feel.
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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 571 mentions

English (226)  Italian (9)  Spanish (6)  French (6)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (259)
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
"Ludmilla, herself reader of several books at once, to avoid being caught by the disappointment that any story might cause her, tends to carry forward, at the same time, other stories also...."

I love when a book has quotes that perfectly describe how I feel about something, but it's a rarity when a quote perfectly describes my feelings about the very book it's from.

Because unfortunately, I ended up skimming the last half of this book "to avoid being caught by the disappointment" this story was causing me. How meta - like the book itself.

Maybe it's not very ✨art student✨ of me, but this was a reminder that post-modernism is just not for me.

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler is a book about books and reading. It starts out in second person, and describes the experience of reading, getting excited about a new book, but only to be interrupted multiple times in many ways. Very relatable and charming - at least to begin with. The "main character" gets into this new book, only to find there's something wrong with the binding and the story is left at a cliffhanger. But along his journey to find the rest of the book, he encounters many other unfinished books that are just as interesting but don't have endings. Oh, and we get to read the beginnings of all these books as well.

This process began to just get tedious, and I wasn't very invested after about the 6th or 7th iteration of this occurring. I'm glad to see so many people love this book, but kinda like how I feel about Hirst, Koons or Warhol - I can appreciate it but I don't necessarily seek it out. ( )
  escapinginpaper | May 18, 2024 |
Liked the first chapter, but it just got totally weird from there. ( )
  Abcdarian | May 18, 2024 |
Reread from a long time ago. He is a less learned version of Borges but really has more true psychological depth to his works. Both are equally fascinating.

Have to wonder if Wm Weaver did the best job in the translation though have not checked for alternatives.

Chapter 7 midway through has a delightful segway? about ways books are arranged in one's home and different categories of books.

Easy to see why some readers are offended by overt sexuality of later chapters, though I think it is so exotically/ esoterically descibed.

"Around an empty grave" parallels several Borges stories set in South America. ( )
1 vote delta351 | Apr 23, 2024 |
Fascinating book of beginnings & intrigue & what hooks a reader. ( )
  coprime | Mar 20, 2024 |
The first chapter is a giddy delight, and there are some real high points, in terms of thinking about reading, what reading is for, why we read--but mostly it's a slow slide downhill. The fundamental problem is that Italo Calvino is very clever and pretty good at writing, but he doesn't actually know that women and people of color are people. He has an extremely clear idea of the Universal Person, who is always male and implicitly white, and this becomes more and more frustrating as the book goes on. Also the last few "novel excerpts" were unbearably horny, in a predictable and gross cishet dude fashion.
( )
  localgayangel | Mar 5, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 226 (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
Meiere, DaceTranslatorsecondary 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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Epigraph
Dedication
For Daniele Ponchiroli
First words
You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler.
Quotations
"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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(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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