There's another thread on Calvino HERE that mentions If on a winter's night . . . , but it was more about the author in general, so thought I'd start a separate thread. I loved this book **gush, gush**. No, really. I read previous comments in the other thread about it being gimmicky, so was wary going into it and just at the point where I was beginning to lose patience and think, 'yeah it is a bit gimmicky', Calvino managed to pull me right back in. I've always disliked the use of the term virtuoso performance, but in this case, I think it fits. I was mesmerized by the way he wove the different stories into the overall narrative of the Reader. Each story/chapter managed to lure me further and further along - some making me laugh, others making me want to tear my hair and screech in confusion. The fascinating thing for me is that it's not just how Calvino tells the stories or the quest of the Reader in the novel, but how he manages to make it about all readers. Taken as a whole, it's as much a treatise about reading, readers and the relationship between reader and author as it is a piece of fiction. What's also very appealing to me is how Calvino doesn't take himself too seriously. The chapter on Silas Flannery's diary being a case in point. You think Flannery, an author, is having a serious discussion with Lotaria about how she interprets his novels, but it soon devolves into a slapstick scene of him chasing her around the desk: And I thought the double-speak in the chapter about Ataguitania was hilarious: Highly recommended.