Quick Review A really unique novel about the search for the perfect reading experience. I am not completely sure how to describe it.
This is my first Calvino novel. It is by far one of the most distinctive novels I have ever tackled. I am using the word tackle because there were days it felt just like that. Normally, I can finish a book quickly. This one took me awhile to get through due to the ever changing style. It’s hard to get into a rhythm when every fifteen to twenty pages the style and story shifts drastically.
The novel is made up of ten chapters. Each chapter composed of two parts. The first part of the chapter is a book within a book. The second part of the chapter is the book itself, but it is told in the second person. You, the reader, are the one taking part in the action.
The novel opens into a scene full of action, but then abruptly stops shifting to a scene where you, the reader, are thinking about what you just read. The story goes on to involve you searching for the rest of the book you just began because during publishing something happened, and you have actually begun two completely different novels. Each chapter has a different style, tone, and plot. It can get confusing and even frustrating because you’re continually in this game of tug of war with the novel: you’re interested and then the novel pulls back. There is a constant search for resolution within each part and each chapter, but that sense of fulfillment never truly comes.
I highly suggest it. It’s definitely not a mindless read, but if you’re looking for something new and different than what you’re used to, this is a wonderful novel!
I’m looking forward to another Italo Calvino novel to see if this is a normal literary tool for him. I think it might be a few months before I try again. I need a mental break from the constant mental tug of war.
“The real revolution will be when women carry arms.”
“I say “should” because I doubt that written words can give even a partial idea of it.”
“Lovers’ reading of each other’s bodies differs from the reading of written pages in that it is not linear.”
“What makes lovemaking and reading resemble each other most is within both of them times and spaces open, different from measurable time and space.”
Title: If on a winter’s night a traveler
Author: Italo Calvino
Translator: William Weaver
Publisher: A Harvest Book (Harcourt, Inc.)