Italo Calvino’s masterpiece combines a love story and a detective story into an exhilarating allegory of reading, in which the reader of the book becomes the book’s central character. He imagines a novel capable of endless mutations in this intricately crafted story about writing and readers.
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambience, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together they form a labyrinth of literatures through which two readers pursue both the story lines that intrigue them and one another.
In between chasing missing chapters of the book, the hapless readers tangle with an international conspiracy, a rogue translator, an elusive novelist, a disintegrating publishing house, and several oppressive governments.
The result is a literary labyrinth of storylines that interrupt one another — an Arabian Nights of the postmodern age.