Wednesday, May 14, 2014

If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino


This book is comprised of 10 story beginnings, each with its own author, genre, plot and characters -each unfinished and abruptly ends at the apex. Binding the story together is a reader who was drawn to follow each unfinished story in multiple directions.   

I will dare say that this book is didactic. It vividly demonstrates various ways of how a reader should relate to the story. There is an interdependent relationship between reader and writer. The narration slips from ‘I’, to ‘you’, and then to ‘we’, fleshing the reader, the other reader and the writer in different phases.  In short, the reader becomes a character reading stories of different styles, entangling himself in interludes concerned in the quest of satisfying his thirst to finish each unfinished story.

Italo Calvino played with the concept of a non-linear structure, wherein the standard ‘beginnings and endings’ that most literature deals with were pushed aside. He did his utmost best to avoid dogmatism and embraced the bizarre. He completely abandoned the readers’ idea of satisfaction and dragged them to welcome a new concept.

These unending stories were not the problem for me; it was how Calvino pieced them all together.  The reader went through various scenarios and predicaments to get hold of the completed copies of each story.  He went through some of the most absurd situations, unbelievably implausible. If I was reading from a printed copy then, I would have hauled it across the room. I absolutely have no right to tell Calvino how he should have written this book, but I do believe that there is a more elucidating way.

I did my best to comprehend Calvino’s idea of diverse literature, or at least, I think I did, but it wasn't for me. Possibly, there is a coherent way to fully describe this book, since a lot of readers have already given their stellar ratings.  Mine probably sounds more like a mere whining of a disappointed reader.

TFG at 4, F2F at Sweet Spot, Sikatuna Village, QC.
Moderated by our dearest, Dr. Ranee.

Book details:
Title:  If On A Winter’sNight A Traveler
Author:  Italo Calvino
Genre: Metafiction; Speculative Fiction
Rating: ★★


  1. A lof of us were disappointed, so don't feel disappointed. :)

    1. I expected to like this book, to 'wow' me even.
      I know better now, I guess. :)

    2. Ditto. Perhaps we can try metafiction from other authors, yes? :)

    3. I don't think that this book dissuade me from trying more metafiction. My love for Paul Auster is proof of that. hehehe But whether I will try another Calvino is another matter. ♥

  2. "Hauled", "Dragged"...Hahaha...I guess it really did not live up to expectations.