As we begin our next unit in our Media and Culture course, I was pleasantly surprised as I read the first few chapters of “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” by Italo Calvino. The rare second person point of view immediately immerses you in the story and engages you as a reader. Also interesting about the novel is its structure, which is like stories within a story. In a way, the novel reminded me of the musical “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which is described as “a show within a show.”
Another interesting aspect of the book is how the first chapter describes the basic process in which most people read. However, the second person point of view writes this in a directional way, telling you how to prepare to read the book. Calvino touched on how books affect culture as well. One sentence that stuck out to me was when he said:
“Long novels written today are perhaps a contradiction: the dimension of time has been shattered, we cannot love or think except in fragments of time each of which goes off along its own trajectory and immediately disappears.” (8)
Calvino does not stray away from pointing out issues with culture in general in addition to reading, and as we move forward in this book, this novel will definitely help me achieve the course goal of learning how the book influences culture.
I also found it interesting that the main character (technically you as the reader) has faced similar situations as the protagonists of the three books the main character has read so far. I wonder if could symbolize the similarity between the plots of novels.
Source: Calvino, through Ch 3