I can appreciate Calvino’s prose (albeit veiled through translation), but I can’t seem to get on with his work as a whole. If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller is just really frustrating to me, no matter how good he is at conjuring up a scene, an atmosphere, an intriguing idea. I’ve never been much for experimental novels and the like, so it was probably inevitable I wouldn’t like this, but I had hoped I’d like it more than I did — it’s all about books, after all! But it annoyed me from the start, first because it’s not written for me at all. I don’t think Calvino thought for a moment about a female reader really picking up the book, because it’s all addressed to a male reader who you can supposedly, as a reader, relate to. So he wasn’t talking to me, but to some man: isn’t there enough literature that does that?
Secondly, the whole construction of the thing is just infuriating. It’s not what I look for in a novel at all, because the entire point is that disconnectedness and incompleteness, the constantly broken thread of story.
Besides, this might sound weird, but the way he writes, he seems untrustworthy. I can get behind a good unreliable narrator, but I don’t like it when I feel as if the writer himself is deceiving me, sneering at me.