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May Brunch - If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (Italo Calvino)

  • May 4, 2014 · 12:15 PM
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Calvino is on SO many "best of" and "must read" lists that I can't ignore him any longer.  Some sources say If on a Winter's Night a Traveler inspired David Mitchell's structure in Cloud Atlas

Both a comedy and a tragedy, Calvino's "Reader buys a fashionable new book, which opens with an exhortation: 'Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade.' Alas, after 30 or so pages, he discovers that his copy is corrupted, and consists of nothing but the first section, over and over. Returning to the bookshop, he discovers the volume, which he thought was by Calvino, is actually by the Polish writer Bazakbal. Given the choice between the two, he goes for the Pole, as does the Other Reader, Ludmilla. But this copy turns out to be by yet another writer, as does the next, and the next.  The real Calvino intersperses 10 different pastiches--stories of menace, spies, mystery, premonition--with explorations of how and why we read, make meanings, and get our bearings or fail to. Meanwhile the Reader and Ludmilla try to reach, and read, each other. If on a Winter's Night is dazzling, vertiginous, and deeply romantic." - from Amazon.com

Reviews:

“[Italo Calvino is] one of the world’s best fabulists.”  - John Gardner, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“Calvino is a wizard.” - Mary McCarthy, NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS

“[Calvino] manages to charm and entertain the reader in the teeth of a scheme designed to frustrate all reasonable readerly expectations.” - John Updike, THE NEW YORKER

About the Author:

Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. He was a journalist and writer of short stories and novels.  Lionised in Britain and the United States, he was the most-translated contemporary Italian writer at the time of his death, and a noted contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

His style is not easily classified; much of his writing has an air of the fantastic reminiscent of fairy tales (Our Ancestors, Cosmicomics), although sometimes his writing is more "realistic" and in the scenic mode of observation (Difficult Loves, for example). Some of his writing has been called postmodern, reflecting on literature and the act of reading, while some has been labeled magical realist, others fables, others simply "modern". He wrote: "My working method has more often than not involved the subtraction of weight. I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and from language." -bio from Goodreads and Wikipedia

** On a personal note, it turns out that another of Calvino's stories was the partial inspiration for the gorgeous animated short, La Luna (2011).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uccSxfeKvXM

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** NOTE : I WILL BE EMAILING MEMBERS ASKING YOU TO CONFIRM YOUR "YES" RSVP A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE MEETUP, WITH YOUR REPLY DUE NO LATER THAN APPROXIMATELY 24 HOURS BEFORE THE EVENT SO WE CAN GET A PRETTY ACCURATE HEADCOUNT. PLEASE REMEMBER TO CHANGE A "YES" RSVP TO A "NO" IF YOUR PLANS CHANGE, SO MEMBERS ON THE WAITING LIST HAVE A CHANCE TO READ THE BOOK. AND REMEMBER TO SEE THE "PAGES" LINK FOR THE NO-SHOW POLICY, IT'S STRICTLY ENFORCED. THANKS

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Good food, though the service was almost too fast! Enjoyed the conversation at the smaller table for my first group.

    May 5, 2014

  • Jane E

    Good food and good conversation. What more could you want on a nice spring day!

    3 · May 4, 2014

  • rachel

    Thanks so much everyone. Other than a little confusion at the seating it looked like everyone had a good time I hope. Thanks to you all!

    May 4, 2014

  • Lakshmi G.

    Great discussion and really good food. Thanks, everyone!

    1 · May 4, 2014

  • rachel

    Hi guys - I'm still waiting for 5 of you to confirm for tomorrow. If you all come it requires an additional table so can you let me know as soon as possible today please? Thanks.

    May 3, 2014

    • Dana

      Who are you waiting for?

      May 3, 2014

    • rachel

      As of now, only Susan and Janice

      May 3, 2014

  • Edward R.

    I will be coming :-)

    May 3, 2014

  • Beth

    i am coming - see you soon

    April 28, 2014

  • rachel

    Hi guys, just my 1-week reminder to please remember to update your RSVP if your plans change. Currently we have 26 yes + 4 waiting list. Based on the cancellation rate the past few months I've only made reservations for 21 so far, but might need more so your help is very much appreciated! PLEASE LOOK OUT FOR MY CONFIRMATION INSTRUCTIONS EMAIL ON WEDNESDAY, AS USUAL (i.e. don't confirm here in the comments - please wait for that email). Thanks!

    April 26, 2014

  • rachel

    Hi guys, just my 3-week reminder to please remember to update your RSVP if your plans change. Currently we have 26 yes + 5 waiting list. Based on the cancellation rate the past few months I've only made reservations for 21 so far, but might need more so your help is very much appreciated! Thanks!

    April 12, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I finished reading Thursday night. I read it four years ago, hated it, and didn't realize I'd read it before until 1/3 of the way through! (So happy I used to keep a blog so I was able to double check.)

    April 6, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Couldn't get into it. Hope to attend a future meet up...

    April 6, 2014

  • Jim

    Hopefully I will have this done a week prior to the meet up.

    March 10, 2014

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