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Invisible Citiesby Italo Calvino
In Invisible Cities, Marco Polo and Kublai Khan tell stories of the cities they've seen, imagined, dreamt, and remembered. The result is a diaphanous fantasy alternating between mirage and memory, like bridges slipping through river fog, or minarets wavering in desert heat. In the end, after a traveler's tour of cities possible and impossible, the two storytellers find themselves on common ground.
Invisible Cities is a great introduction to Calvino short, but wide in scope; intelligent, yet accessible; dazzling, yet profound. I love this book, but I can't really explain why. It defies easy categorization or synopsis. Invisible Cities exists for no other reason than Calvino wrote it. It exists, like sunlight, without question. And like sunlight, it illuminates something inexpressible and mysterious. It provokes the same feelings I have when I return home after traveling outside the country subtle shifts in perception and value that texture my home city with new light, adding deeper layers of understanding and meaning to my quotidian life.
I want to live in the cities Calvino describes, and it turns out that I already do I just don't always see the remarkable, or hold the perspective necessary to observe beauty in the commonplace. Ask me to describe the city I live in, and I will describe my own life. Invisible Cities is kind of like that.
Synopses & Reviews
In a garden sit the aged Kublai Khan and the young Marco Polo — Tartar emperor and Venetian traveler. Kublai Khan has sensed the end of his empire coming soon. Marco Polo diverts the emperor with tales of the cities he has seen in his travels around the empire: cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities. Soon it becomes clear that each of these fantastic places is really the same place.
"Of all tasks, describing the contents of a book is the most difficult and in the case of a marvelous invention like Invisible Cities, perfectly irrelevant." Gore Vidal, The New York Review of Books
About the Author
Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in San Remo, Itlay.
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