Monday, 4 July 2011
If on a Winter's Night a Traveller
Title: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller
Author: Italo Calvino
Number of pages: 260
Started: 28 June 2011
Finished: 4 July 2011
You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a Winter's Night a Traveller. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, "No, I don't want to watch TV!" Raise your voice—they won't hear you otherwise—I'm reading! I don't want to be disturbed!" Maybe they haven't heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: "I'm beginning to read Italo Calvino's new novel!" Or if you prefer, don't say anything; just hope they'll leave you alone.
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.
What I thought:
This is a book that you get to start over and over again and never actually get to the end of the story. The book again and again introduced a new book in the hope that this time is was indeed the elusive If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller. It had the advantage that if you didn’t like a particular start to a story another one would be along in a few minutes, but if you did, you never got to find out what happened.
To me this book was like reading Jose Saramago - but with punctuation.