“Before you write your first book, you possess that freedom to begin writing that can be used only once in your life. The first book already defines you while you are in fact still far from being defined. And after that you have to carry this definition around with you for the rest of your life, trying to confirm it or develop it or modify it or even deny it, but no longer ever able to be without it.”—Italo Calvino, in the 1964 preface to his 1947 The Path to the Spiders’ Nests
“This is the first novel I wrote, almost my very first piece of writing. What can I say about it today? I will say this: it would be better never to have written your first novel.”—Italo Calvino, in the 1964 preface to his 1947 first novel, The Path to the Spider’s Nests.