Book Thoughts: If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino

image from Goodreads

“Don’t ask where the rest of this book is! All books continue in the beyond…” 

This book is a postmodern novel. Each chapter is divided into two parts. The first part is about you, The Reader, because it is told in second person. The second part is the book that The Reader reads in the first part. But we could only read the beginning of the books that The Reader reads due to different unexpected reasons. Not yet confused, are you?

It was my first time to read a novel in the second person perspective. I liked reading the first pages of the book. Below are the first sentences:

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.

I was The Reader. I was reading If on a winter’s night a traveler. It describes readers, reading, and books. Who wouldn’t be interested in a book about books? But eventually, I felt detached from The Reader (not only because  The Reader turns out to be a guy). I find the story of  The Reader and some of his escapades ridiculous especially during the last chapters. I didn’t like the story that much.

But here’s what I like, the second part of the chapters. The stories within the story got me interested. I liked reading the 10 books, or the beginning of the  books, rather. Even if these stories were cut abruptly, I still admire his writing. The stories were even cut at the exact moment when I was already engrossed in the story. Annoying, eh? Even so, I learned to appreciate them. Leaning from the steep slope and In a network of lines that enlace are my favorites.

Reading this book is really a very different experience for me. But most of the time, new ideas and styles of books amuse me. So even if there were times that this book made my head hurt so much, I can still say that I liked it.

(3/5 stars)


7 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino

    1. Hmmm… I find it funny, that after listening to the conversations about endings and of marriage and death, he decided that he wants to marry Ludmilla. Then at the last chapter, surprise! They’re married! At least it’s a happy ending. Oops! Spoiler! (And he’s reading If on a winter’s night a traveler, wow, meta! hehe)

  1. I never finished this book. It was interesting and intriguing in the beginning, but then it became confusing and “OA” toward the middle…. I really couldn’t stand it anymore so I just stopped reading it 😦

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