Closing Thoughts on If on a winters night a traveler

There is a classic children’s picture book called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg. The book is made up of a handful of haunting images with a title and a single line from a story. The idea was to encourage young readers to imagine — or write — the rest of the … Continue reading

Scheherazade and the Franchise Zombie

A great concept gets slipped into If on a winter’s night a traveler at about halfway through: It is the classic dilemma of the author who is compelled somehow not to finish the story. This is different than ending fatigue, wherein a story is ending but has many, many ending sequences that drag long after … Continue reading

What Novels Make You Feel Uneasy on the First Page?

On page 126 of If on a winter’s night a traveler a character obsessed with reading everything she can get her hands on makes this statement: The novels I prefer are those that make you feel uneasy from the very first page. What kind of novels are those? I have to say that the experience … Continue reading

Love, Misery, and the Stars in the Sky

If on a winter’s night a traveler is taking shape much like Calvino’s Invisible Cities, itself a riff on Scheherazade and the 1001 Nights. In all of these books there is a frame story that carries along through a series of vignettes.  In traveler, the frame story is that “You” the reader have begun one book only … Continue reading

Excuse Me… What Does “Making Love” Mean?

The phrase of the post’s title pops up in If on a winter’s night a traveler on page 191. How did we get to the point that a woman named Ludmilla is blithely saying she’d make love to a Mr. Flannery? To try giving a plot roundup is not worth the time; it is clear by now … Continue reading