I finished Italo Calvino‘s If on a winter’s night a traveller. It was pretty much hard work. I’m told it’s one a lot of people give up, so I persevered, and it was interesting, I suppose – creative in a postmodern way, where everything’s relative and related, where there’s as much value in falsehood as in truth, where nothing is ever as it seems first, and then sometimes is.

I don’t know, I like when a novel has a bit of, well, novelty, about it: I love reading Eco, or Murakami, and so on, and I can handle a looping, nonlinear, narrative as much as anyone. But I think Calvino wrote something of a catwalk hat here, a style/approach that was much copied after, and which filtered down through more manageable tomes, but is a bit… much, on first reading.

Anyway, I’ve progressed onto Bruce Chatwin‘s In Patagonia, which is far more straightforward. I’ll write a travel book someday, you see if I don’t. I’m planning to update It Isn’t Far From London, but with charity shops instead of walks.


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