Certain books exert on us great amount of fascination, but we do not know why or at least we cannot explain adequately the reason for this attraction. In my case this is one of these books. My edition is dated back in 1984 and I probably read it for the first time that very same year but I’m still seduced by this book. However I must introduce a word of caution, not everyone agrees with me. There is quite some controversy around its merits. Judge by yourselves.
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“You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. 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.”
The blurb reads:
“If on a winter’s night a traveller turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambience, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together they form a labyrinth of literatures, known and unknown, alive an extinct, through which two readers, a male and a female, pursue both the story lines that intrigue them and one another. They are the true heroes of the novel, for what would writing be without readers?”
Here is an excellent review by Melissa Coombe. Now sit, relax and enjoy your reading. You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveller…..