Calvino and the reader

Back to grading grading grading, but the tasks have been interesting reading composition and contemporary ficion papers. It’s an interesting range of subjects: composition, fiction, and new media analyses.

We’ll be hitting Calvino on Tuesday, and I’ll be letting the student take over the discussion, have them struggle to deal with the complexities of If on a winter’s night a traveler. It will be interesting to see how the students in the class react to meta fiction elements and the twist of the second person address.

You, reader–what is the nature of a fiction? Can we be immersed in a story which constantly calls attention to itself? Of course. It’s a maze the reader must find their way through; but what if the novel you’re reading is “broken”?

4 thoughts on “Calvino and the reader

  1. James

    Can a novel be broken? The fourth wall can, to be sure, but with skill that can leave the narrative intact. And who says narrative has to be linear, or even have any element of consecutiveness? The maze of plot points can actually enhance the experience.

    A “broken” novel is not for the faint of heart, but I consider it quite a romp for anybody who’s up for it. See: Philip K. Dick, Kurt Vonnegut (for a more North American perspective on fractured narrative) and Adam Cadre (Shrapnel, specifically).

  2. steve


    Imagine that you’re reading a P Dick novel. You get to page ten and there’s a high note, a climactic moment, turn the page and the rest of the book is all white space? What happens then?

  3. James

    I thank my lucky stars that there was a climactic moment in those ten pages and move on, I suppose. That or I pore through the white space and the ten pages of text and try to piece the puzzle together.

    I’m a game player at heart.

  4. Maureen

    If there is a climactic moment..then white space..perhaps it is up to the reader to continue the story..the reader becomes the author…

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