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Invisible Cities Paperback – May 3, 1978
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That said, the Kindle edition is an embarassment. The publisher rushed a part-time intern into a room with a scanner and an OCR program and made sure they clocked out on time. Maybe they should have thought about proof reading? Italicized words appear randomly throughhout the text, obviously not intentionally. Perhaps that's supposed to be a tribute to the author's first name? But the words that are simply mis-recognized by the OCR software are the worst: "faces" becomes "feces" tipping us off to the standard of quality the publisher had in mind for this edition. Come on you cheap bastards, just hire someone to proofread it before you throw it out there as a Kindle edition.
The characterization works like a photographic negative. He never tells us of Genghis Khan or Marco Polo; no descriptions or personality traits given. What he uses is their ideas and the things that they talk of to describe what kind of people they are. Thus, it is through their impressions on the template that I could tell what kind of characters they are. That is good, confident writing, I think.
The imagery is powerful too. Calvino strives to make his cities visible in the imagination. This is one trait that I think will make him be read years and years from now.
Take your time with this novel. In fact, I don't think that it is possible to even race through it. It's shortness is misleading, it is very dense and laden with vitality and deserves to be savored in enjoyment and not raced through in the reading. But if you can slow down and enjoy it, I think you will find it to be well worth the effort.
Calvino is a masterful story teller - with an uncanny abililty to create space, setting, scene and mood. I found Invisible Cities a personal, intimate read. Marvelous.
Calvino really lets his imagination get high, to create the most bizarre, beautiful, horrible and crazy cities as any you yourself can imagine. Cities of all places, ages, shapes and peculiarities come to your mind. Calvino is really good at depicting impossible places, but also places that somehow remind you of real cities you've been to.
A remarkable work of imagination, well written, this is the ideal book to read in a dreamy scenery, but also in one of these quasi-impossible cities we humans have created, the craziest ones, such as NY, LA, Tokyo, Mexico City, etc.
The comparison to Borges is instructive, because what works in the short form begins to show signs of strain in this novella. Calvino sprinkles bons mots and truisms liberally amongst the tightly structured chapters (whose interwoven, enumerated headings might build, some readers argue, a sine wave or a skyline or something meaningful). Reading the book is to waver back and forth between admiring the clever wordplay and recognizing its cynical candor: "The city displays one face to the traveler arriving overland and a different one to him who arrives by sea." "There is no language without deceit." A city made entirely of pipes; a city divided for the dead, the living, the unborn; a city whose trash expands outward, trapping its citizens within; a city that looks just like the city you just left; a city that exists only in old postcards depicting a different city that never really existed--you'll recognize aspects of every city in each of these cities, or (more precisely) you'll recognize Venice.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Whacky & cute. Marco Polo talks to Kublai Khan about his travels.Published 13 days ago by Peter W Scott
The book includes Marco Polo's descriptions to Kublai Khan of faraway places (though it's unclear if these parts are fictional, true, or fiction-based-on-truth). Read morePublished 26 days ago by J Lenni Dorner
I am glad I read this book. So imaginative. Beautiful. Damn Italians and their passion for everything that they do! I envy them. Get this book if you have come this far.Published 29 days ago by Nishanth Nannapaneni
One of the best books of the 20th century. On the same level as Borges and Kafka. Maybe even better than both of them.Published 2 months ago by Jason Walker
5/5 great book. Calvino is a little architectural for my liking, but he writes beautifully.
Book arrived 3 or 4 days ahead of schedule (that was nice!)
A perennial favorite; a whirlwind tour of cities that could never be; nostalgia for worlds that've never been. Read morePublished 3 months ago by anotherlittlething