Everything has already begun before, the first line of the first page of every novel refers to something that has already happened outside the book. Or else the real story is the one that begins ten or a hundred pages further on, and everything that precedes it is only a prologue.
These lines written by Italo Calvino, in his novel ‘If on a Winter’s Night A Traveller‘ is only the reflection of what we feel and how we behave in our day to day lives. Aren’t we all an actor living a set script on the stage of life?! This is the story of a reader which goes on to become the protagonist of the intertwining plots and changing stories. This protagonist represents every such reader who picks up this novel only to find that this book is about him. Is it a strategy of the writer to confuse the reader, Calvino asks, or is it just a ploy to hook the reader into the book?
He creates situations where a part of reader’s life gets invested into the story and before any of you knows, you are running behind the fragments of the beginnings and the desire to find the remaining parts of the stor(ies)y of which you have become a part. You are given many beginnings but at the end of each chapter you become restless to find that you have been played with again and that there is no end to this search.
The lives of individuals of the human race form a constant plot, in which every attempt to isolate one piece of living that has a meaning separate from the rest – for example, the meeting of two people, which will become decisive for both – must bear in mind that each of two brings with himself a texture of events, environments, other people, and that from the meeting, in turn, other stories will be derived which will break off from their common story.
So, there is a writer who is struggling to get his writing style back while suffering from the paradox of readers’ expectations, and a conspirator who is stealing stories and transporting them to different places, as well as an autocratic government which has decided to banish all the books of the world but still keeps a library of them. Among all these characters and plots, you are the thread which is taking the story further. But still the climax is nowhere in sight, it is like a mirage created in a desert which makes itself appear when you are losing hope, but just as when you are about to touch it, it vanishes again. There are no endings, there are only the beginnings which keep intersecting the other beginnings which ultimately make a single story.
The ultimate meaning to which all stories refer has two faces: the continuity of life, the inevitability of death.
It is you who will write the climax, either chose the continuity or face the extinction. So do you chose the continuity??
Picture Courtesy: Ahranya© (The cover of ‘If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller’, Italo Calvino. Published by Random House under Vintage Classics)