If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (Everyman's Library Classics) Hardcover – 20 May 1993
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"[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
KEY NOTES: * Stunning new covers to increase backlist sales. * A legendary writer who, with this title, has treated us to one of the most enjoyable, playful, magical and influential European books of the century. * Praise for If non a winter's night: 'As captivaing and intelligent a conjuring act as you are likely to find in a years reading' - Observer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A Reading without a thread. An interesting and different novel but really could have been shorter without losing any impact or meaning. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Christopher Derry
It's one of my favourite books...pin sharp and urbane it tells a story with a clarity I have yet to find in other books.Published 3 months ago by Dan Smith
The book arrives very quickly and, whilst it is second hand, was in a very good condition.
The story itself is fascinating and I am really enjoying the meta aspect of... Read more
Books within books, who doesn't love that!?! It's a compelling and beautifully written piece. I thought it might be difficult to follow but that wasn't the case at all.Published 5 months ago by Kate
I enjoyed reading this unusual book, never read any Italo Calvino before but will read more of his books. Recommend this.Published 6 months ago by Pippa