Home > Book Review > Book Review- If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler

Book Review- If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler

I got “If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler” over a year ago as a Christmas gift and I just finally got around to reading it. Going into the book I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It didn’t seem like anything I had read before and it was, and that’s a good thing. So thanks, Mike.

“Winter’s Night” is a wildly imaginative and challenging book that starts off deceptively simple. Much of the book features a second person you narration. So that took a little getting used at first, but once you got that down the opening of the book featured a fairly low key premise. Two readers and their search for a book that they’re reading at the same time.

These readers are searching for the same book because the book they bought had a printing error. And through a bizarre and entertaining series of coincidences the book they’re hunting keeps changing.  At the end of the second half of the book the author, Italo Calvino, introduces a literary translator and counterfeiter and the novel takes the plunge into the deep end of the weirdness pool as it becomes about secret dueling conspiracies and what the act of reading means.

Along the way Calvino gives readers hints of the books the two readers are checking out. So almost every other chapter you get  a different  story and different genre. Sometimes these hints are so good it’s almost like a tease.

It’s almost like the book is constantly changing and shapeshifting. If that sounds difficult, it was but in a good way.  It left me with the same feeling I get after I read some of Grant Morrison’s “stranger” comics, like my mind was blown. I’ve never done acid and have no interest in  but I have to imagine that this is what it feels like to have gone on a “good trip”

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