To say I’ve never read a novel like this one before would be a silly thing to write since there isn’t another novel like it; it’s unique.
And I’m not going to review it either, at least not in the traditional sense because to do so would require flowcharts, venn diagrams, and a bunch of other things that have nothing to do with books and reading.
As the point of the novel was to describe, artistically, the process of reading as you are reading it about someone who is a reader Calvino succeeds brilliantly in thoroughly exploring this rabbit hole. And I can see why some people may think this novel was an exercise in writers block, but I don’t see it that way at all since everything does eventually all tie together and each story within a story relates, somehow, to the larger idea of reading.
Anyway, it’s probably best that I’m writing this late at night, immediately after having finished the book and still a little punch-drunk with what I just read. The book is to be experienced (read) and is so clever, so full of every whispered thought you’ve fuzzily been dimly aware of at times when reading other books that the best way to explain the book is to take a cue from the book itself and say “It is reading”.
Make of it what you will, but it’s genius.