Tuesday 26 April 2011

Calvino, Italo "If on a Winter's Night a Traveller"

Calvino, Italo "If on a Winter's Night a Traveller" (Italian: Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore) - 1979

One of the most weird - but also most interesting - books I ever read, a reader is trying to read a book called "If on a Winter's Night a Traveller". The book is partly about the reader's life and partly about the books he is trying to read.

An interesting concept, I never read a book like this before. I'm not into short stories but these aren't short stories, these are beginnings of long stories, however, we never hear the end, so we have to make them up ourselves. Makes you think.

I really like this book.

From the back cover:

"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."

See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2024.


  1. I need to reread it soon. I remember the thrill when I realized what he was doing wit the title

    1. Thanks, Emma. True, such a great and unique book. I absolutely love it.