Tuesday, February 13, 2018

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

If on a Winter's Night a TravelerIf on a Winter's Night a Traveler
by Italo Calvino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"But how to establish the exact moment in which a story begins? Everything has already begun before, the first line of the first page of every novel refers to something that has already happened outside the book. Or else the real story is the one that begins ten or a hundred pages further on, and everything that precedes it is only prologue. The lives of individuals of the human race form a constant plot, in which every attempt to isolate one piece of living that has a meaning separate from the rest--for example the meeting of two people, which will become decisive for both--must bear in mind that each of the two brings with himself a texture of events, environments, other people, and that from the meeting, in turn, other stories will be derived which will break off from their common story." (p. 153)
This book was tremendously clever and was definitely the most meta book I have ever read. It is about a reader, you, who is reading a book that is being written by another character in the book, and possibly translated by yet another, but it keeps ending abruptly and when the reader finds another copy it is another book. There is another reader also reading the same book as you. In the capable hands of Calvino this isn't confusing.

Back in 2013 Avid Reader's Musings hosted a readalong of this novel, so check out those posts for more points of view about this book.

This book is from my classics club list, but was written in 1979 so isn't old enough to qualify for the back-to-the-classics challenge. It does count toward the What's in a Name challenge as the title contains a season.


  1. a fascinating read...rather in a class of its own.

  2. Yes, great review. I am really glad I read this one.

  3. Yes, great review. I'm glad to have read this one.


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