Calvino in the mind of the reader


Where to even begin with this one. After reading 50+ pages of "If on a Winter's Night a Traveler," I came to find the plot is really not important to the story, since there are several plots completely unrelated to one another. I actually find this book to be very interesting since Calvino can get inside of the readers' mind and present multiple options. This tactic, is not typically found in novels. Each reader is different and each author seems to be writing about what is in their head and their perceptions of the world, issue, topic, etc. Relating to an author's voice can be challenging especially if you don't see things the way they do.

Calvino demonstrates several scenerios which engage the reader and he will flat out tell you that he has you trapped...and then prove why. "Then from the very first page you realize that the novel you are holding has nothing to do with the one you were reading yesterday (Calvino 32). You're picturing yourself meandering around a bookstore, satisfying your curiousity, and BAM your outcome has just been predicted by the author of this book. A bit frightening, but also in my opinion phenomenal.

Calvino also has a gift of describing characters with so much and even with unnecessary detail and in the end they illuminate this huge sense of mystery that leaves you as the reader pondering even more. And then BAM again, he will tell you "your attention, as reader, i snow completely concentrated on the woman, already for several pages you have been circling around her..." (19).

Calvino has demonstrated several ways to grab the readers' attention and the most intriguing way is to present a foreign term and describe it in such a complexity that the reader will still not understand what the word actually means, but they can sense it, smell it, and even imagine it. He did this wil the schoeblinstjia. Calvino can make you swear on a made-up word's actual existence in the world, and believe it.

Calvino's other writing tactic that still confuses me is my wondering if he studies and plots every detail of his writing and then picks his potential readers' brains for their reactions and thoughts, or if he simply "still has not made up his mind" (12) which he subtly brings up at the beginning of the book.

So far, the thrill of his book hasn't been the plot...a bit unusual. The thrill is his ability to pick your brain and know exactly what his reader is thinking by submitting several options. I'm curious to see what he has in store for the rest of the book.

Back to the class.


I have to disagree, Tiff-o.

I don't like what Calvino is doing so far because I don't think he's been able to "pick my brain" once so far. The only thing that he was able to "predict" about me so far in this book is that I was sitting at my desk while I started reading, but then he went off and started to mention things that I wasn't doing and tried to make it apply to me...when it wasn't.

I admire the effort to relate to all of his readers, but it really is impossible to actually accomplish such a task and I really don't see Calvino doing so anytime soon. At least not with me.

Chelsea, based on the way the story progresses, how important is it that the actions of the "Reader" don't exactly match yours? Would you say it gets more important, or less important?

I think I prefer making it up as I go. I agree with Chelsea. I enjoy the mystery, I don't like knowing everything, I like to have my own thoughts, and then sometimes, being proved wrong, but still being able to interact in the story in that way. And he takes that form us I think.

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This page contains a single entry by TiffanyGilbert published on March 21, 2010 2:19 PM.

Short & Sweet, the name of Calvino's game. was the previous entry in this blog.

Calvino creates confusion is the next entry in this blog.

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