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If on a Winter's Night a Traveler

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4.07  ·  Rating details ·  59,816 Ratings  ·  4,691 Reviews
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler is a marvel of ingenuity, an experimental text that looks longingly back to the great age of narration--"when time no longer seemed stopped and did not yet seem to have exploded." Italo Calvino's novel is in one sense a comedy in which the two protagonists, the Reader and the Other Reader, ultimately end up married, having almost finished ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published October 20th 1982 by L&OD Key Porter (first published 1979)
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MJ Nicholls
You are about to read Mark Nicholls’s review of Italo Calvino’s postmodern classic If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller. You might want to position yourself in a comfortable chair before you begin, or place a cushion behind your back, as we know how arduous it can be to read things off the internet. You might also care to prepare a coffee, a light snack, or to switch a light on before beginning.

You might be thinking that this review is not going to interest you, since book reviews on books you hav
...more
Hadrian
Aug 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"YO DAWG, I HEARD YOU LIKE READING, SO I PUT A BOOK IN YO' BOOK, SO YOU CAN READ WHILE YO' READ."
Kinga
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I say this is what happened:
Italo Calvino was suffering from a writer's block. He would start a novel, get it to its first curve and abandon it before the resolution. A few months later he would start another with a similar result. Finally, his publishers got impatient because it had been years since the last novel and they said:
'Italo, get your shit together! We need a new book. Now!'
Italo panicked and did the only thing he could think of. He glued all his failed attempts together and delivered
...more
Marvin
Dec 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I arrived at the library with my two books in hand. As I plunked them down on the check-in counter, a thin matronly woman approached.

"Would you like to check these books in?"

"Yes I would but I would also like to..."

"Oh, I see you read If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino."

"Yes I did. Have you read it too?"

"On starting the first few pages, you were put off by what appears to be a artistic gimmick."

"Why yes a little. but..."

"you soon realized that the author was trying to involve you
...more
Fionnuala
Original review: November 2011
Imagine that it is winter and there is snow everywhere and you can't go out and all you do for days is read book after book, story after story, gorging yourself on fiction until your subconscious is saturated with characters and plots.
Imagine that you fall asleep late one night while reading and you have the cleverest dream ever.
That is what reading this book by Calvino is like.
(I forgot to mention that if you're a woman, in your strange Calvino dream, you will m
...more
Sanjay Gautam
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's one of those books which stands alone and shine like sun. There is nothing quite like it. It's one of its kind. Unique.

There are a few books which you come across where the writing, the prose (so lyrical, and beautiful), makes such an impact that it leaves you completely dazzled, and for a while you are stunned: that, wow! what just happened!; and then you are spellbound, speechless!.

And it is one of those books.

The Writing is magical, hypnotizing! It snares you in its magical net. It ca
...more
Gaurav
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Postmodern Literature- Metafiction
If on a Winter's Night a Traveller

Italo Calvino

Just one word: AWESOME !!


"You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveller. Relax. Let the world around you fade."

The opening line of this unusual book really fades the world around you and immerses you in a mystical, eccentric, surreal world where you are energised right from the scratch to encounter the world which refers to its own existence- something which is unprecedented.






The book is a genius i
...more
Dolors
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who travel at the speed of words
Recommended to Dolors by: Many wise GR friends
Why do you read?
Maybe you want to impress somebody. Libraries are cool, or so they say.
Or you expect to learn something from the books you so carefully select.
Or you merely have a preference for intellectual entertainment and books are considered a smart option to fulfill that purpose.
Or maybe you read to remember all the lives you haven't lived, or that important person who left a permanent track on you, whom you don’t expect to see again, or to delight again in the innocent thrill of being
...more
Jim Fonseca
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: italian-authors
An experimental novel. The main character is a reader who can’t finish a book because the print copies are mixed up and he ends up reading first chapters of various novels over and over again. He meets up with a woman who has the same problem and he goes on a search to find the rest of the book for both of them. Actually there are two women, sisters, who have different ideas about books and what the purpose of reading is. They appear in different guises throughout the story. The narrative is lab ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
Previously Unpublished Manuscript #1

Who am I? Who is I? Who is the I?

Unlike my friends and colleagues, Professors Calvino and Galligani, I intend to tell you my name and perhaps to reveal something of my modus operandi (soon, too).

This one sentence might already have supplied enough information or implication to let you work out or infer who I am?

Have you guessed yet? No? Well, my name is Professor Uzzi-Tuzii, though my friends call me Julian. Not only is that my name, but that is who I am.

Yes.
...more
Cecily
I rather enjoy that sense of bewilderment a novel gives you when you start reading it.

[ 1 ]

“You are about to begin reading” Cecily’s review of her first Calvino. “Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on… Find the most comfortable position… Adjust the light so you won’t strain your eyes… Try to foresee now everything that might make you interrupt your reading.” A drink within reach? “Do you have to pee? All right
...more
Aubrey
You are scrolling through the reviews and statuses and various examples of book mongering on Goodreads, eyes lazily wandering in hopes of something that will snatch them and hold them fast in fascination. After several refreshings of the page you see that Aubrey has recently finished and rated "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler', which means that a review will not be long in coming, as Aubrey is not the type to carefully compose and coordinate a review for more than a day, often submitting words ...more
Manny
You gaze, confounded, at your laptop, vainly trying to find a way to review this so-called novel, which you, an anglophone, have perversely read in French, not the native language either of yourself or of the author. Your companion notices your perplexity and tries to help, or, possibly, to confuse you further.

"It's beautifully written," she says. "But it has no heart."

"Mais chère Lectrice, how do you know?" you ask. "You have read If on a winter's night, a traveller, while I have read Si par un
...more
Seemita
Imagination, Winged

Push me not, not right now,
Frozen feet is all I have;
Shine me not, not right now,
Calming dark is all I have;
Correct me not, not right now,
Impelling doubt is all I have;
Wake me not, not right now,
Breathing dream is all I have.

Long ago, when I jotted down this poem, I was amidst a whirlwind of events: my final year exams were impending, my heartache was fresh, my best friend had left the city and my muscle tear was repaired but still throbbed a bit. So, I had little to rejoice
...more
Kalliope
I have not finished the book but it does not matter. I can post my review already.

You are wondering whether to phone the police to remove Mark Nicholls from your house. You are deeply confused as to why this reviewer whose opinions you find facile and banal is suddenly sitting naked on your couch reading the very book you were reading about,” he says. You look for a blunt instrument to hit him with, but can find only a cup. You throw the cup, but he ducks and it breaks against the wall. Then Gar
...more
Garima
Well,I am not here to review this book but since that’s the only option available here so I can’t help it. I have nothing new or different to say that hasn’t been said earlier and neither am I one of those seasoned reviewers on GR that other members look forward to read their views on a particular book (OK! Enough of self-pity).

I mean come on, Calvino didn’t write this novel (or antinovel, like I read somewhere) so that some random reader would read this epic book and dare to have an opinion. H
...more
Annie
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015

Calvino called it a hyper-fiction: a book within a book. If on a... is a clever amalgamation of a story within a story within a story; a reader of a book with a reader of a book and other readers. The alchemy of contusions that blurs the physical existence of the reader so he fuses with the reader in print. For who has read a book and then seen the world with stale sight? For to inhale the spirit of the book and to read it afresh is to intake it with renewed senses.


If on a... is a pleasant read

...more
Samadrita
Putting into exact words all the feelings this book evokes in the reader, is a task not just tremendously challenging but virtually impossible to execute.
After getting through the first few pages, I felt like Naomi Watts in The Ring, being pulled against her will into the world of the creepy video by Samara.
I know that's a rather cheap analogy. Comparing a creation of one of the most accomplished post-modernist writers to have emerged from Europe to a Hollywood version of a Japanese film, is pre
...more
Foad
یه بار با خواهرزاده م که اون موقع یک سالش بود بازی می کردم، و با کلی زحمت براش با لگو یه ساختمون ساختم. اما دختربچۀ یک ساله بدون این که به اون ساختمان اهمیتی بده، با ذوق و خنده زد و خرابش کرد. یه مقدار بهم برخورد، و به این امید که این بار بیشتر تحت تأثیر قشنگی ساختمون قرار بگیره یا حداقل یادبگیره مثلش رو بسازه، باز تلاش کردم بازسازی ش کنم و اون این بار قبل از این که ساختمون تموم بشه زد و خرابش کرد. چند بار امتحان کردم، و دیدم انگار لذت بازیگوشانۀ خراب کردن خیلی بیشتر از لذت انتزاعی ساختنه. این ک ...more
Luís C.
How to write and how to describe this novel?
If I had 1 / 10th the talent of Italo Calvino will be easy.
This is the story of a male and a female reader, have in it ten stories in a narrative, is a labyrinth where I loved losing myself, a journey through the imagination of its author.
This book is tasted, savored, take time, discover the landscape with a thousand faces, kaleidoscope style.
I can not tell you more, you now discover that novel. If a winter's night a traveler Italo Calvino speaks to yo
...more
Chloe
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
I can not think of a book that has let me down more than Italo Calvino's If On a Winter's Night a Traveler. Admittedly, this may have been caused by in no small part by my high expectations for this novel after having read the deliriously exciting first chapter several times in a bookstore during one of those quite regular hunts for the next book to steal my heart. I mean, who can resist a first chapter that contains paragraphs like:

"In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with
...more
Bradley
I wonder why this is my third Italo Calvino book and want to kick myself. I should have read this first even though his Cosmicomics is more my speed in general. Gaah!

That being said, there's something awesomely lulling and beguiling and downright charming about this book. It reads wonderfully and with such a light touch that you can't help but feel as if you're riding in a giant's careful hand, a soft but omnipresent voice telling you where you're going and what you'll be experiencing and that y
...more
Michael
A delightful romp of two readers on a quest to find fulfillment in books. It felt like a wonderful hybrid of Borges’ compressed imagination, David Mitchell’s broken stories in “The Cloud Atlas”, and Jasper Fforde’s placement of reader sleuths into his farces.

The book got its hooks into me right from the beginning, talking directly to me as the reader entering a bookstore to acquire this new novel by Calvino. So engaging to have me negotiate through a bunch of idiosyncratic book categories. For
...more
Steve
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Calvino met a muse.
Then he met a metamuse.
But was it all a ruse?

nyehh...

Who am I to disabuse?


I had such grandiose plans for reviewing this book. Then I made the mistake of reading what my luminous Goodreading friends had already said and realized I had no luster to add. I briefly toyed with the idea of a metareview of those reviews, but lacked the energy and time to follow through. Besides, I’ve produced a lot of flab lately and decided to avoid the excess this time. If what you seek is insight,
...more
Sidharth Vardhan
You are now reading a review by Sidharth Vardhan of book ‘If on a Winter Night a traveler’ by Italo Calvino. You had started your computer (or perhaps you are using your computer, logged into your Goodreads account and were checking your dashboard when this review pop up. ‘Another parody review!’ you thought after reading the first line, ‘as if this book hadn’t enough of them’. But perhaps you found it on your mobile. You opened it in new tab and start reading it or may have bookmarked it, so th ...more
Mevsim Yenice
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kahramanı okuyucusu olan postmodern roman. Kafa karıştırıcı gibi en başta. Çok geçmeden ne olduğunu anlamaya çalışırken olayın içinde buluyorsunuz kendinizi, romanın başkahramanı oluveriyorsunuz ve Calvino'nun tam da yapmak istediği şey bu aslında.

Roman boyunca romanla aynı adı taşıyan bir romanın eksik bir parçasını bulmaya çalışıyoruz ve bunu adeta bir ölüm kalım meselesine çeviriyoruz. Roman içinde roman oluveriyoruz. Bir yapboz gibi sürekli parçaları yerine koymayı deniyoruz, olacak gibi ol
...more
Osric
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ابتدای کتاب، این سوال پیش میاد که نویسنده داره با خواننده کتاب حرف می زنه یا فقط داره راوی گری می کنه؟؟
داستان از اونجایی شروع میشه که شخصی میره و کتابی می خره و میاد خونه می خونه میبینه ناقصه و کتاب مورد داره، میره کتابفروشی که کتاب رو عوض کنه، و این اتفاق ده بار میافته که هر سری برای برطرف کردن مشکل کتاب و پیدا کردن داستان ناقص یه سری اتفاقات میافته! :))
می دونم پیچیده اس، باور کنید خود من هم خوب نفهمیدم و حتما باید بخونمش دوباره! :))

بدین ترتیب، فصل اول داستان مردی هست که داره کتابی رو می خونه
فص
...more
Junta
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: You
Recommended to Junta by: Susie
If on a Goodreads Review a Reader, or If a Pale Fire Starts Without Me: A Poem in Ten Lines

You are about to begin reading Junta's interactive review of If on a winter's night a traveler. Your instructions are below.

In the novel, the ten titles of the even numbered chapters form a story:
If on a winter's night a traveler
Outside the town of Malbork
Leaning from the steep slope
Without fear of wind or vertigo
Looks down in the gathering shadow
In a network of lines that enlace
In a network of lines that
...more
فهد الفهد
لو أن مسافرا في ليلة شتاء

بهذا الكتاب وحده، دخل كالفينو قائمة كتابي المفضلين، نادي مجانين السرد الذين يقلبون كيانك بكتاباتهم، أظهر كالفينو كل قدراته وكل سخريته في هذه الرواية، ها هو يصنع عملاً مبهراً، عن فن القراءة وعن فن الكتابة معاً، نوع من ألف ليلة وليلة معاصرة، حيث يقفز القارئ من قصة إلى قصة من دون أن يدرك نهاية لأي منها، وكل قصة لا تفضي إلى قصة كما هو الحال في ألف ليلة وليلة، وإنما كل قصة تبتر بسبب غباء وتلاعب دور النشر والمؤلفين، هكذا... نمضي ونحن نطارد فصولاً مفككة ومدمجة معاً في لعبة قص
...more
Teresa
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not the kind of person to define myself. Of course, I know I'm a daughter, sister, wife, etc and most importantly, a mother. But besides my relationship to other people, if I'm 'forced' to think about what defines me, what I know I've always been, as far back as I can remember, is a Reader. And if you are the same, then, like me, you will feel that Calvino is speaking to you -- you are his You.

I can't say there weren't very brief times when my attention wandered during one of the stories tha
...more
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  • Zeno's Conscience
  • Sostiene Pereira
  • The Garden of the Finzi-Continis
  • The Moon and the Bonfire
  • To Each His Own
  • The Blue Flowers
  • That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana
  • La Compagnia dei Celestini
  • The Periodic Table
  • Reeds in the Wind
  • The Leopard
  • Labyrinths:  Selected Stories and Other Writings
  • A Void
  • Uomini e no
  • The Time of Indifference
  • Il partigiano Johnny
  • Lessico famigliare
  • The Man Who Watched Trains Go By
4,298 followers
Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. He was a journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952-1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If On a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979).

His style is not easily classified; much of his writing has an air of the fantastic
...more
More about Italo Calvino

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“Sections in the bookstore

- Books You Haven't Read
- Books You Needn't Read
- Books Made for Purposes Other Than Reading
- Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong to the Category of Books Read Before Being Written
- Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered
- Books You Mean to Read But There Are Others You Must Read First
- Books Too Expensive Now and You'll Wait 'Til They're Remaindered
- Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback
- Books You Can Borrow from Somebody
- Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too
- Books You've Been Planning to Read for Ages
- Books You've Been Hunting for Years Without Success
- Books Dealing with Something You're Working on at the Moment
- Books You Want to Own So They'll Be Handy Just in Case
- Books You Could Put Aside Maybe to Read This Summer
- Books You Need to Go with Other Books on Your Shelves
- Books That Fill You with Sudden, Inexplicable Curiosity, Not Easily Justified
- Books Read Long Ago Which It's Now Time to Re-read
- Books You've Always Pretended to Have Read and Now It's Time to Sit Down and Really Read Them”
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“In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven't Read, which are frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you...And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered. With a rapid maneuver you bypass them and move into the phalanxes of the Books You Mean To Read But There Are Others You Must Read First, the Books Too Expensive Now And You'll Wait Till They're Remaindered, the Books ditto When They Come Out in Paperback, Books You Can Borrow From Somebody, Books That Everybody's Read So It's As If You Had Read Them, Too. ” 465 likes
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