If on a winter’s night a traveler …

…. starts his trip, he can’t be sure anything:

–         if he wouldn’t be late on train,

–         if the book which he reads wouldn’t be broken off after few first pages in the place when the plot started to be more interesting,

–         if going to the bookshop to get a replacement, he wouldn’t meet his “one and only love”.

Traveler who is starting trip on a winter’s night can be sure two things – it will be the strangest travel in his life and he will spent time with very absorbing and eccentric company – fantastic novel of Italo Calvino.

It is a postmodernism story. It plays with literary convention, style of writing, reader’s expectations. In the same time it is and it isn’t a thriller, detective, philosophical or love story. The plot is like a Chinese box  – you have story hidden in the story hidden in the story like small box in the bigger box and this bigger box in the bigger and…

There is two main characters – Readers and Ludmilla – who discover that the newest book of … Italo Calvino “If on a winter’s night a traveler” has not only a printing error (blank pages), but also it’s wrong with novel of Polish author “Outside of settlement Malbork”. In bookstore they decided to buy (instead of Calvino’s book) this Polish novel, which they suppose stared to read. But after few first words they discover that:

–         it’s not the same book which they started to read as an Italo Calvino’s book

–         it isn’t probably book of Polish author but Cimmerian writer – Ukko Ahti

–         it’s again broken off after few first pages

So they decide to check book which they bought on the university in Department of Cimmerian Literature …and they discover that:

–         book which they have, which supposes to be a novel of Ukko Ahti, which supposed to be polish novel, which had supposed to be Italo Calvino newest book …isn’t THIS book at all. Probably it’s a book of Vorts Viljandi , who maybe not or maybe was a Cimbrian author writing under the nick name (as an Ukko Ahti)! Professors of literature has been fighting about his nationality for ages!

Do you find it a little bit complicated?

It’s just a beginning of crazy travel through 10 different novels, authors (or maybe one, mad famous author, who is looking for the best method to write the biggest and the most important book in the history, Book of all the Book’s), continents and countries (real country like Switzerland and fake like Cimmeria). You become a member of this expedition,  going deeper and deeper into writing and reading process. During this trip Reader and Ludmilla meet all persons related with the book’s world – writer with creativity’s crisis, translator, publisher, censors, bookseller, professor of literature, his students, readers (of corse!)… and even – member of two fighting group inside the Reader’s Sect. In the net of author’s names, titles and broken off stories, they try to discover reason of all this chaos. But it isn’t easy. All the time truth is mixing with falsehood, reality with the dream and fiction. Action is running fast like in a good thriller. Vertigo! Book catches you from the first sentence and doesn’t let you abandon reading for any second. You are in the trap of stories.

Each chapter, each twist makes you feel more interested and confused. Construction  If on a winter’s night a traveler issimilar to the One Thousand and one Night. But if Scheherazade starts her story exactly in the same place where she stopped last night, in Calvino’s book each beginnings is opening a new novel. Each of this novels is in the same time parody and obeisance of book genres or style of writing famous authors like Kafka, Borges, Dostoyevsky. Each title of this novels is a part of a long sentence which appears at the end, if you are attentive reader, able to find it. Between all the novels which has been told you, you find chapters with numbers, telling you story about Reader’s and Ludmilla’s investigation. And between sentences of this detective story you can find paragraphs about “art and nature of reading”. And it’s again just a… beginning of surprises and games in which Calvino invites you 😉

So, if:

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



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