Customer Reviews for

If on a winter's night a traveler

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

I have been on an experimental kick, which has been fun, I must say, and this one is the latest addition to it. Having read books like House of Leaves and Naked Lunch has really stretched my literary muscles. This book achieves the same in a slightly different way and t...
I have been on an experimental kick, which has been fun, I must say, and this one is the latest addition to it. Having read books like House of Leaves and Naked Lunch has really stretched my literary muscles. This book achieves the same in a slightly different way and though it will test most readers comfort level, it will not be so much in the content as in the format.

For starters, you are one of the man characters of the book. Yes, you, the reader, with the other character being `the other reader¿ who is a girl that has also picked up a copy of Italo Calvino¿s new book ¿If On a Winter¿s Night a Traveler¿ at just about the same time. In fact, as you start this novel, you are literally starting this novel. The author refers to you in second person, and pulls you into this book in a way that is quite impressive. There is only one problem¿the book you buy is flawed. Pages are missing, which means you have to go an get another one, and a second one is given to you which is supposed to be the correct one, and¿so you and the other reader begin to read this new book and once again, during a climactic moment, your story is stopped. This continues ten times, and you read the beginning of ten different stories, all different in content and style, and all of them incomplete¿and it is through these incomplete books that this book is¿well, completed.

Though it takes a while for you as the reader to settle into this new form of storytelling, I have to say that this was a very engrossing read. Rarely before has an author managed to truly place me in a story as this one has. And in the process he gives a tour of a number of worlds which I am unfortunately left wanting more of just as the characters in the book. Though there are a pair of stories which I could have done without, I found that the majority of them would have made pretty damned good books, and there were a handful that really had me wishing that they were real books, because I would have immediately added them to my list.

A fun read, that is for certain, though beware that the author uses an arsenal of words which can be rather intimidating. More than once I had to find my way to the dictionary, which in a good story can be slightly problematic, because you are left with two options 1) cut the flow of your reading to find out what the word means or 2) skip it and look it up later at which time you may have forgotten the context. Though, with this slight flaw set aside and the fact that in some occasions the details can be daunting, this book is certainly a breath of fresh air for anybody tired of reading the same old stories.

posted by FocoProject on October 27, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

What?

I may not be a literary genius but I do read a lot and this book was horrible. The first chapter pulled me in, the second made me feel all would be well, but by the third I was completely lost! Avant- guarde? It just isn't my cup of tea.

posted by Anonymous on September 27, 2007

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  • Posted April 13, 2014

    Stringing words together does not a book make. Agreed,the style


    Stringing words together does not a book make. Agreed,the style is novel but the content produced a headache. Won't be reading any further works of Mr. Calvino

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2013

    Wintersar

    Waits

    0 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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