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If On A Winter's Night A Traveller  : Vintage Classics - Italo Calvino

If On A Winter's Night A Traveller

Vintage Classics

Paperback Published: April 2002
ISBN: 9780099430896
Number Of Pages: 272
For Ages: 14 - 18 years old

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‘A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say’ - Italo Calvino

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.

About the Author

Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. During the war he was a member of the Italian Resistance and joined the Communist Party, although he later left in 1957. One of the most respected writers of our time, his best-known works of fiction include Invisible Cities, If on a winter's night a traveller, Marcovaldo and Mr Palomar. In 1981 he was awarded the prestigious French Légion d'Honneur. He died in Siena in 1985.

Industry Reviews

"Breathtakingly inventive" -- David Mitchell "The greatest Italian writer of the twentieth century" * Guardian * "Reading Calvino, you're constantly assailed by the notion that he is writing down what you have always known, except that you've never thought of it before.This is highly unnerving: fortunately you're usually too busy laughing to go mad... I can think of no finer writer to have beside me while Italy explodes, Britain burns, while the world ends" -- Salman Rushdie "A devastating, wonderfully ingenious parody of all those dreary best-sellers you buy at the airport... It is a "world novel": take it with you next time you plan to travel in an armchair" -- Lorna Sage * Observer * "A brilliant work of the imagination and the intellect working in union.And, by the way, it's very funny also" * Scotsman *

mercifully short


2.5 stars If On A Winter's Night, A Traveller... is the 3rd stand-alone novel by Italian author, Italo Calvino. It is translated from Italian by William Weaver. The format is somewhat unusual: the chapters are addressed to the Reader (=you), written in the second person. These are interspersed with opening chapters from books the Reader is reading, or tries to read. Frustrated by printing errors, the Reader returns to the book shop to complain, where he is joined by the Other Reader (Ludmilla). The fragments of the various books are vaguely interesting, but not as compelling as they apparently are to the Reader and the Other Reader, intent on finding the original titles and completing their reads. Some pieces are so dense, so tortuous (or is that torturing?) that the reader's eyes (mine) glaze over. The stories feature espionage, leaving the farm, prison escape, revolutionaries (x2), murder, ringing telephone paranoia, mirrors as means of deceit, Japanese seduction, erasure and a duel. The chapters featuring the Readers' quest presents philosophy on the experience of books and reading from different perspectives: the reader, the translator, students of literature, publishers, authors, analysts of books and censors. The Reader is difficult to identify with, and must be starved for literature to be so enthralled by these fragments. It's a mercifully short read that will at least give the reader an idea if they want more of Italo Calvino, or not.



One of my all time favourites


Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveller...is an invitation for the reader to journey along with his narrative and after a bit you see that the you are the reader inside and outside of the story. If you can go with Calvino's thread weaving through the labyrinth, then it's a fabulously fun no-borders allowed ride. One to read and read again through the years because each time something else is revealed.

South Coast




I don't know exactly what I expected but I found it hard to get involved with this. Not hard to follow - just not sure I cared enough to finish the book.

Central Coast


If On A Winter's Night A Traveller

3.3 3


ISBN: 9780099430896
ISBN-10: 0099430894
Series: Vintage classics
Audience: General
For Ages: 14 - 18 years old
For Grades: 10 - 12
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: April 2002
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 12.9  x 1.7
Weight (kg): 0.19
Edition Number: 1

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