I wanted to review this but didn’t get around to it last month.
This is the third Italo Calvino book I’ve read, after Cosmicomics and Invisible Cities. I might recommend starting with one of those first. Both are short story collections, but the stories in Invisible Cities are very short, like fables. This novel compiles chapters from ten different (fictional) novels within the book, each of them breaking off after the beginning. These chapters alternate with the frame story where two readers, a male reader and a female reader, try to find the original text of “If on a winter’s night a traveler,” the first novel they started reading.
There are some wonderful reflections on reading in this book. The opening chapter, in which the anonymous reader (whose perspective is narrated in second person) goes into a bookstore and is confronted by “the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read,” is hilarious. I think that on GoodReads, my favorite quotes will show up under the review.
some other reviews I liked: