I may have been right in my belief that the last couple of chapters were aimed more directly at the reader, as in this last chapter, Chapter 11, we get the narrator’s decision to look up all the books that make up the whole he is seeking–or rather, the wholes of each. Once again he is thwarted in his efforts, though each title is cataloged, the books themselves for one reason or another, are unavailable.
But this occurs: a discussion amongst readers at the table where he sits as to how they read a book. Each has his own reasons, and I believe they correspond to the foregoing stories in that each serves an individual reader’s desires best. This example is one I’ve chosen as it is most like my own:
"For me, on the other hand, it is the end that counts," a seventh says, "but the true end, final, concealed in the darkness, the goal to which the book wants to carry you. I also seek openings in reading," he says, nodding toward the man with the bleary eyes, but my gaze digs between the words to try to discern what is outlined in the distance, in the spaces that extend beyond the words ‘the end.’ " (p. 256)
Calvino then does what I have suspected, string the titles into a story (no big spoiler here; the titles were pretty obvious phrases and not capitalized). And at the end, we have a decision that is so simple in theory that explains all of literature.
Back shortly with my finale review.