Calvino’s Kaleidoscope

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I’ve always wanted to read this, as many a literary critic has sung its praises and now I can see why. Plays with all the themes of postmodernist writing — self-referentiality, intertextuality, genre, parody, and literary theory — but does so with such a self-assured mastery of craft and story that I couldn’t put it down. Like The Name of the Rose, or Borge’s library, it draws ‘you’, through a deft use of second-person narrative, into a dizzying hall of mirrors, false starts, and kaleidoscopic carnivalesque. As Joyce said about Ulysses, it will keep the professors talking for years. A game, a trap, a ruse, a brilliant multithreaded interrogation of the intimate, mysterious, magical dance between writer and reader, text and world, beginning, middle and end.



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