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If On A Winter's Night A Traveller (Vintage Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Italo Calvino , William Weaver
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

You go into a bookshop and buy If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino. You like it. But alas there is a printer's error in your copy. You take it back to the shop and get a replacement. But the replacement seems to be a totally different story. You try to track down the original book you were reading but end up with a different narrative again. This remarkable novel leads you through many different books including a detective adventure, a romance, a satire, an erotic story, a diary and a quest. But the real hero is you, the reader.


Product Description

Review

"[Italo Calvino is] one of the world's best fabulists."--John Gardner, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW "Calvino is a wizard."--Mary McCarthy, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS "[Calvino] manages to charm and entertain the reader in the teeth of a scheme designed to frustrate all reasonable readerly expectations."--John Updike, THE NEW YORKER "Calvino is that very rare phenomenon, a true original . . . If on a winter's night a traveler is breathtakingly complex and self-conscious (there are moments when it quite literally makes one gasp with astonishment) . . . [yet it] is one of the most accessible and enchanting novels written in the last fifty years."--from the Introduction by Peter Washington

Book Description

'Breathtakingly inventive' David Mitchell

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 740 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (23 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.ą r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GKMU5I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,012 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Italo Calvino was born in Cuba in 1923 and grew up in Italy. He was an essayist and journalist and a member of the editorial staff of Einaudi in Turin. One of the most respected writers of our time, his best-known works of fiction include Invisible Cities, If on a Winter's Night a Traveller, Marcovaldo and Mr Palomar. In 1973 he won the prestigious Premio Feltrinelli. He died in 1985. A collection of Calvino's posthumous personal writings, The Hermit in Paris, was published in 2003.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If on a winter';s night 28 Dec. 2005
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
One definition of metafiction is "Fiction that deals, often playfully and self-referentially, with the writing of fiction or its conventions." That could pretty much describe Italo Calvino's "If On A Winter's Night A Traveler," a gloriously surreal story about the hunt for a mysterious book.
A reader opens Italo Calvino's latest novel, "If On A Winter's Night A Traveller," only to have the story cut short. Turns out it was a defective copy, with another book's pages inside. But as the reader tries to find out what book the defective pages belong to, he keeps running into even more books and more difficulties -- as well as the beautiful Ludmilla, a fellow reader who also received a defective book.
With Ludmilla assisting him (and, he hopes, going to date him), the reader then explores obscure dead languages, publishers' shops, bizarre translators and various other obstacles. All he wants is to read an intriguing book. But he keeps stumbling into tales of murder and sorrow, annoying professors, and the occasional radical feminist -- and a strange literary conspiracy. Will he ever finish the book?
In its own way, "If On A Winter's Night A Traveler" is a mystery story, a satire, a romance, and a treasure hunt. Any book whose first chapter explains how you're supposed to read it has got to be a winner -- "You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, "If On A Winter's Night a Traveler." Relax. Concentrate." And so on, with Calvino gently joking and chiding the reader before actually beginning his strange little tale.
As cute as that first chapter is, it also sets the tone for this strange, funny metafictional tale, which not only inserts Calvino but the reader.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clever, but one for the post-modernists 7 Nov. 2007
Format:Paperback
I bought this book having seen it mentioned in various lists for 'Greatest Books of the 20th Century'. If you are a fan of the post-modernist novel then this should please you as it plays with the structure of the novel and with ideas of literary conventions in a very smart way. Calvino was clearly ahead of his time because authors like Peter Carey have clearly borrowed the convention in books examining the act of writing books. If you are a real literary 'nut' or member of the post-modernist cognoscenti then you should enjoy the way that the book leads you along various twists and turns, forensically examining the nature of writing and the fallacy of the novel.

I personally found the book to be a little too clever and I never felt drawn into the self-referential world that is created by the central quest of the book. I greatly admire the intellectual trapeze act, but was left feeling a little cold.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Journey 26 May 2003
By J. Skade VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Calvino once described a young readers first acquaintance with Stendhal's 'Charterhouse at Parma' and how they are overwhelmed by the first pages recognising the novel they had always wanted to read; how the novel then develops along different lines becoming a multiplicity of novels. He could have been describing this novel. The reader is immediately arrested by the opening chapter in which 'the reader' buys a copy of 'If On A Winters Night A Traveller' by Italo Calvino. The whole description is more engaging and a lot funnier than you might think. The chapter seems to herald a whole new kind of novel. The remainder of the novel follows a number of different directions, but it is the first chapter which remains in the mind most clearly.
It is a novel about novels - usually the most tedious of postmodernist cliches, yet this novel centres on reading rather than writing. The unnamed reader begins a number of novels which for increasingly bizarre reasons he is unable to continue. He meets a fellow reader, Ludmilla with whom he joins in the quest to find these lost novels and with whom he begins a romance. On his quest he encounters publishers and academics a literary forger, censors - in fact pretty much every element of the literature industry ( including a non-reader who uses books to create sculptures), yet he remains the pure disinterested reader.
The book is packed tight with ideas and jokes plus some marvellous literary pastiches - my favourite being the erotic japanese novel.
Calvino belongs to the worlds of Sterne and Joyce and in this case more particularly Borges and Flann O'Brien. It is the perfect book for those who love experiment, playfulness and cerebral humour. It is probably the best introduction to a marvellous (in all senses) writer.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
You are about to read Mark Nicholls's review of Italo Calvino's postmodern classic If on a Winter's Night a Traveller. You might want to position yourself in a comfortable chair before you begin, or place a cushion behind your back, as we know how arduous it can be to read things off the internet. You might also care to prepare a coffee, a light snack, or to switch a light on before beginning.

You might be thinking that this blog post is not going to interest you, since book reviews on books you haven't read can often be frustrating. For starters, the writer delves into details about the plot which spoil the surprises a blind reading of the book might create, and likewise you are unable to form an opinion yourself and share your thoughts on the text in question.

Conversely, you might have read the text and are familiar with the second person narration that addresses the reader directly and places them as a protagonist in the book. You might think this review an obvious imitation of Calvino's unique style, and become irate as you read on, wondering when the reviewer is going to get around to summarising the plot.

In fact, you become so irate, you search for the book on Goodreads, but are incandescent when you notice each review is also written in the same imitative style, and the gimmick becomes so irritating you have to leave the room for a moment to calm yourself down.

As you leave the room, someone knocks on the door. It is a door-to-door salesman offering copies of Italo Calvino's novel If on a Winter's Night a Traveller at a reduced price.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book.
Published 25 days ago by wandagraph
3.0 out of 5 stars Obscure..... you need to put ...
Obscure.....you need to put aside a few hours where you are unlikely to be interrupted. A hard work read and not really my sort of thing. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Ms T J Michael
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful that one can buy happiness !
No book has ever left me as happy as this did when I read it first. Just had to have a copy to go with all my other wonderful Calvinos.
Published 1 month ago by Victor Arnold Bendell
3.0 out of 5 stars Creative yet stumbling book
This book is an interesting avant garde-style read for its creativity, structure and plot(s). It's an examination of what it means to read, with the presiding question being: why... Read more
Published 3 months ago by TS
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel, leading you on from narration to narration to a...
Novels about novels, or novelists, tend to be turgid – a tedious exercise in navel-gazing, they are usually self-indulgent and unappealing. Read more
Published 4 months ago by David Beeson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
It reads well
Published 4 months ago by HI ITS T
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
If on a winter's night a traveller is a masterpiece of modern literature.
It is unique.
This is the kind of writing that is not teached in creative writing courses.
Published 4 months ago by JOĆO CERQUEIRA
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good
Published 5 months ago by busymumnewtownabbey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
weird and wonderful
Published 5 months ago by VegGrower
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable
Post-modernist experimentation that just doesn't work. It's not even interesting as an example of the form.
Published 8 months ago by Sue
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