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"Kublai Khan does not necessarily believe everything Marco Polo says when he describes the cities visited on his expeditions, but the emperor of the Tartars does continue listening to the young Venetian with greater attention and curiosity than he shows any other messenger or explorer of his." So begins Italo Calvino's compilation of fragmentary urban images. As Marco tells the khan about Armilla, which "has nothing that makes it seem a city, except the water pipes that rise vertically where the houses should be and spread out horizontally where the floors should be," the spider-web city of Octavia, and other marvelous burgs, it may be that he is creating them all out of his imagination, or perhaps he is recreating details of his native Venice over and over again, or perhaps he is simply recounting some of the myriad possible forms a city might take.
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 BooksSee all Editorial Reviews
Italo Calvino is one of the greats. This one can be read linearly in one sitting as a novel or dipped into as little snippets of luminous explorations into thought and language... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Averyn Ryce
You can hear Polo's voice weaving its web around the Khan's ears. What a meeting that was...Published 10 days ago by Muffy
I love this book. In it, Marco Polo describes to Kubla Khan all the cities of his kingdom, all of which are, in fact, the same city. Read morePublished 3 months ago by C. Shepko
This review is really about the audiobook available via whisper sync. I would not recommend it. Hard to even know what I think of the book (I think I liked it). Read morePublished 3 months ago by CityReader
In this dream-like book (not a novel) Marco Polo regales Kubla Khan with stories of imaginary cities in Khan's kingdom which Polo has either visited or heard of. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Nemoman