For those with an amorous affair with books, this may, perhaps, be the ultimate love letter to the reader. Calvino's novel, or more precisely, his book of ten interrelated stories, is both masterfully created and startlingly unique. Told alternately in second and third persons, the book is a fascinating exploration of the relationship between the author and the reader. Flawlessly composed, the novel weaves together seemingly unrelated tales, all of which relate directly to you, the reader. At its core is an ingenious concept the likes of which could have only come from the unparalleled imagination of Calvino. By the time you reach its dazzling conclusion, you'll be wishing you could somehow read it again for the very first time. Recommended By Jeremy G., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Calvino's anti-novel is about the efforts of his two characters a man called only The Reader, and the Other Reader, a woman named Ludmilla to read 10 very different novels. They are never able to get to the second chapter of any of them; nor are the actual readers of this novel, who share their puzzlement and frustration as well as their delight in the situation. Finally, the two marry and settle down to read in bed a novel called If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino. Among other things, Calvino insists that novels cannot be a form of "escape" from the world, because reading and life are inseparable. The text provides an examination of the different ways of reading and of the expectations of different kinds of readers; it is also an exploration of the relationship between the writer and the reader.
These seemingly disparate characters gradually realize their connections to each other just as they realize that something is not quite right about their world. And it seems as though the answers might lie with Hawthorne Abendsen, a mysterious and reclusive author whose bestselling novel describes a world in which the US won the War... The Man in the High Castle is Dick at his best, giving readers a harrowing vision of the world that almost was. "The single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick's career." -- New York Times
You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel...Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. --from If On A Winter's Night a Traveler
Italo Calvino's stunning classic imagines a novel capable of endless possibilities in an intricately crafted, spellbinding story about writing and reading.
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler is a feat of striking ingenuity and intelligence, exploring how our reading choices can shape and transform our lives. Originally published in 1979, Italo Calvino's singular novel crafted a postmodern narrative like never seen before--offering not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambience, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together, the stories form a labyrinth of literature known and unknown, alive and extinct, through which two readers pursue the story lines that intrigue them and try to read each other. Deeply profound and surprisingly romantic, this classic is a beautiful meditation on the transformative power of reading and the ways we make meaning in our lives.
Calvino is a wizard...There is no halting this book's] metamorphoses. --New York Times Review of Books
About the Author
Italo Calvino's superb storytelling gifts earned him international renown and a reputation as "one of the world's best fabulists" (New York Times Book Review). He is the author of numerous works of fiction, as well as essays, criticism, and literary anthologies. Born in Cuba in 1923, Calvino was raised in Italy, where he lived most of his life. At the time of his death, in Siena in 1985, he was the most-translated contemporary Italian writer.