Book Review: If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino
|As part of our monthly duel review, Molly at Lit Nerd Around the World will post her review if she hasn’t already. -Colin
You are about to read the review of If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino. As you read this on your digital screen, you begin to feel uneasy right from the get go. You wonder if you read the introduction sentence correctly Was it really written the the second person tense? You re-read it again, going over every word carefully to avoid confusion. You were correct. No surprise there. You are, after all, a rather smart person. You read books, have excellent taste is music and have been described as ‘the life of the party’ on more than one occasion. It is the enjoyment you get from reading books that has led you to this review. You want to know whether or not If on a winter’s night a travel by Italo Calvino is worth your time but you’re too distracted by the way the review is written and is failing to mention anything at all about the book other than it’s title, If on a winter’s night a traveler, and the author’s name, Italo Calvino.
By now you’ve given up on the review and have turned to Amazon to read the customer reviews. You know in your heart that these reviews, while numerous, will never actually be useful. Your eyes skim the first review that catches your eye, and it does so because this review is written in caps. “This book blows. If I could give it one star I would. DON’T EVER READ THIS BOOK! EVER. EVER. EVER!!” You notice that the reviewer, Bill Fred, was able to achieve his goal of giving the book one star. As you scroll down, you notice other reviews from other reviewers who have rated the book various numbers of stars. They seem to be all over the place ranging from one star to five stars. You skim a couple more reviews, but they are too erratic and never give a good picture of how you would enjoy the book if you were to read it.
You come back to this review, the one that you are reading right now, in hopes of it making more sense the second time around. You re-re-read the first sentence. Nope, still awkward the third time around. You wish that the author of this review would mention some of the bits you gleamed in the Amazon reviews such as the frustration some people had about large portions of the book be written in the second person. You think back upon all the books written in the second person and are fondly reminded of the Choose Your Own Adventure book series that would tell you to turn to different page numbers to make a choice. You can see how having a book written like that would be off putting. But the reviewers also spoke about the various short stories that are intertwined throughout the novel and move the plot forward. One reviewer called this “gimmicky”. You suddenly remember one of the tweets you read from the author of the review you are reading right now complain about an unspecified book with sentence that contained 190 words. That sure is a lot of words and you certainly don’t want to read a book that is full of sentences that contain a lot of works, many of which don’t add anything to whatever the sentence is trying to say, but that is okay, because, by the time you, the reader, would get to the end of the sentence, which seems to have stopped and started to many times already, you’ve already lost your train of thought and, thanks to an over abundance of commas, have forgotten what the author, or in the case of If on a winter’s night a traveler, a translator, was trying to say when they began the sentence two pages ago, which is a slight exaggeration you feel, but since it was made for comedic effect, with more-or-less success, you feel fine with letting the author’s inaccuracy slide, just this once.
By now you’re stopped reading the review and have decided that you are not the type of person who likes reviews based on If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino and therefore would probably not like the book.
If on a winter’s night a traveler
By Italo Calvino
Two Things I Like:
1) Some of the short storys were enjoyable to read.
2) The second person narration was fun at first…
Two Things I Hated:
1) …but then it got old after 50 pages.
2) The story that tired the short stories together was dull and the main character seriously has book-ADHD.
Why I Read It:
Gun to my head, would I recommend this book?