If on a Winter’s night a Traveller – Italo Calvino

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller – Italo Calvino

I read about this in Once Upon a Prime by Sarah Hart and reserved it from the library (it was a bit of a sprint to finish it before it had to be returned).

It has an interesting construction – story within story within story, and I was intrigued by each one, only to have them break off (which was the point I think).

Here is the blurb …

Italo Calvino’s masterpiece combines a love story and a detective story into an exhilarating allegory of reading, in which the reader of the book becomes the book’s central character.

Based on a witty analogy between the reader’s desire to finish the story and the lover’s desire to consummate his or her passion, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller is the tale of two bemused readers whose attempts to reach the end of the same book, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino, of course, are constantly and comically frustrated. In between chasing missing chapters of the book, the hapless readers tangle with an international conspiracy, a rogue translator, an elusive novelist, a disintegrating publishing house, and several oppressive governments. The result is a literary labyrinth of storylines that interrupt one another—an Arabian Nights of the postmodern age.

Because the story is lots of disjoint stories it is quite hard to know where you are when you pick up the book again after a pause. Not a good book to read when you have a spare five minutes.

I found each of the stories to be quite gripping, even the titles are good, and put together they make a good opening paragraph for another story.

This novel is for readers (and writers), it’s about the joy of reading, the frustration of the story being interrupted and finding other readers with whom to discuss your reading. Plus it puts reading and literature at the heart of a global conspiracy.

A review.

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