If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller: An Excerpt

The novel you are reading wants to present to you a corporeal world, thick, detailed. Immersed in your reading, you move the paper knife mechanically in the depth of the volume: your reading has not yet reached the end of the first chapter, but your cutting has already gone far ahead. And there, at the moment when your attention is gripped by the suspense, in the middle of a decisive sentence, you turn the page and find yourself facing two blank sheets.

You are dazed, contemplating that whiteness cruel as a wound, almost hoping it is your dazzled eyesight casting a blinding glare on the book, from which, gradually, the zebra rectangle of inked letters will return to the surface. No, an intact blank really reigns on the two sides that confront each other. You turn another page and find the next two are printed properly. Blank, printed; blank, printed; and so on until the end. The large sheets were printed only on one side, then folded and bound as if they were complete.

(Page 18)

Italio Calvino

15 thoughts on “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller: An Excerpt

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      1. The book came out of an era of experimentation. I’m not sure rereading it would improve the experience. At least I know it would not improve mine, but I can say I finally got around to reading it.


“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ― James A. Michener

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