Dan Sandman

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

In Adventure, Books, Fiction, Romance, Spy on 23/10/2015 at 12:00 pm

If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo CalvinoThis brilliant novel is about you. It involves your search for a book called If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino (1923-1985). Frustratingly, your quest for the book keeps on leading to other books; and these new books keep on ending, just as you’re getting attached to them. And so, you embark on your own adventure. Along the way, you’ll find romance and meet a spy. All within the sinews of your imagination.

If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979) was first published in Italian and translated to English in 1981. During the sixties and seventies, literary theorists such as Roland Barthes (1915-1980) and Julia Kristeva (1941-) were busy inventing clever ways of talking about novels. As an approximation, 39% of what Roland and Julia wrote was nonsense. However, a lot of it was really cool inter-textual stuff that got writers joining dots indiscriminately. Story tellers could start weaving their threads in new post-modern ways, as Italo Calvino did in this remarkable novel.

Now for some twenty-first century linkage: if you like David Mitchell (1969-), you’ll like Italo Calvino. That’s because both writers are crafty, shifting from story to story. The clever word for this is post-modern, but you don’t need to know any clever words to enjoy Calvino. All you need to do is let your imagination run wild, and go with the proverbial. If you don’t like books, then you won’t like this book. If you do like books, you’ll enjoy at least 41% of this novel. I probably enjoyed about 78%-81% of it, but don’t always believe what you read on the internet. I suggest you start / finish the book yourself.

You’ll find it’s easier in a library.

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  1. Nice review for a great book!

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