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Invisible Cities (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 2 Oct 1997
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"so important for thinking about the rich layers of life around us, our frailties, how we question and how we find meaning." (Red)
"Invisible Cities changed the way we read and what is possible in the balance between poetry and prose... The book I would choose as pillow and plate, alone on a desert island" (Jeanette Winterson)
"Whole chapters of unforced poetic prose in which insight and fantasy are perfectly matched-an exquisite world" (Observer)
"'Invisible Cities is perhaps his most beautiful work-the artist seems to have made peace with the tension between man's ideas of the many and the one" (New York Review of Books)
"The most beautiful of his books throws up ideas, allusions, and breathtaking imaginative insights on almost every page. Each time he returns from his travels, Marco Polo is invited by Kublai Khan to describe the cities he has visited-Although he makes Marco Polo summon up many cities for the Khan's imagination to feed on, Calvino is describing only one city in this book. Venice, that decaying heap of incomparable splendour, still stands as substantial evidence of man's ability to create something perfect out of chaos" (Paul Bailey Times Literary Supplement)
'A subtle and beautiful meditation' Sunday TimesSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Each chapter has the name of a town, which is described by Marco Polo. In addition, there are many dialogs between Kublai Khan and Marco Polo that are, in my point of view, the most exciting part of the book. The dialogs are so intelligent and stimulating that I read some of them many times. They can trigger our natural curiosity about the way we see things around us, the future, the past, the present, etc. It is a book to be read in a slow pace so we can reflect upon each part. It helped me to slow down my frequently rushed rhythm of life. How conscious are we while we write the pages of our lives?
If you like to combine "thought-provoking" with sensual - a very unusual and wonderful combination.
For me there is something so hauntingly beautiful about Calvino's words that it really gets under my skin. There's something that really gives the gut a good twist with this book that evokes a strange mix of longing for the future and helpless nostalgia for the past.
I understand why some won't like this book. There's no definite plot, no heros to follow, just an aimless drifting through some potentially non-existent cities broken up by some narrative between two men, possibly high and possibly not even speaking to one another. I can understand that it is boring for some; that it doesn't have much point, even that it can come across as quite pretentious.
What annoys me is that some of those who have turned their nose up at this book seem to feel that all the other reviewers who have read and enjoyed it are all rather pretentious and are desperately attempting to appear more well read and intelligent than they are.
Why? Because it's under Vintage Classics??
I know I'm not particularly intelligent or well read, and to be honest I don't really understand it, I just enjoy the words.
I agree that this is not ideal for those looking for a conventional story...or well, a story at all. However this isn't just a book for 'polite folk;' if you enjoy travelling, or dream of travelling, or are just stuck floating along somewhere and you like beautiful imagery I'd definately recommend Invisible Cities. The only thing that has prevented me from giving it a five star is that I haven't finished reading it yet....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is a series of short poetic type stories of Marco Polo's visits to distant lands. It is very well written but the stories are too short to maintain the attention of the reader.Published 29 days ago by Patrick F Corcoran
The premise could not be more wonderful. Kublai Khan asking the greatest traveler in human history, Marco Polo, to describe the cities of his empire. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Fractal Echo
a wonderful book - A dream like imagining of many cities, or perhaps just one city seen from different perspectives, or all cities and their dark complexities, you can take from it... Read morePublished 4 months ago by giki
AMAZING BOOK. if you like to imagen anything, or think things up, this book is a must read, it stimulates your creative mind to heckPublished 9 months ago by Cjwils