Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Eponymous Quotation

Re-reading a novel you loved is like revisiting a city where you loved: you do it in the company of your younger self. You may not get on with your younger self, or else the absence of what is missing colours your judgment. Despite my reservations, however, I wouldn't want a word of "If on a winter's night a traveller" to be different, and if [Italo] Calvino's ghost seeks me out after this, I'll still get down on my knees and pay homage... My conclusions, for what they are worth, are: some books are best loved when young; the older me has more time for Calvino the fabulist (Our Ancestors), Calvino the short-story writer (Adam, One Afternoon) or Calvino the essayist (Six Memos for the Next Millennium) than for Calvino the Escher; and that however breathtakingly inventive a book is, it is only breathtakingly inventive once. But once is better than never.

--David Mitchell (author of Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas) in a Guardian piece on rereading Calvino's famous novel.

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