Invisible Cities

Italo Calvino. Vintage. (160p) ISBN 9780099429838

Invisible Cities

Invisible Cities

Another book in my classics reading exercise, amazingly enough a lot of the books I’ve read whilst doing this are from Vintage Books. Not only are the editions well-translated or adapted they are beautiful having wonderful covers.

Invisible Cities is a fictional set of conversations between Kublai Khan and Marco Polo, where Marco Polo is describing non-sensical and fantastical cities, one after the other broken every ten or so by a conversation between the Khan and Marco.

The cities can be seen as aspects of one city, Venice, but also as aspects of the human condition and experience. Marco explains various rules regarding the cities whilst talking to the Khan, going down often labyrinthine explanations of the conditions of never finding the same city twice and of no two cities being the same ever.

I was initially put off thinking that this may be too dense for me but the translation by William Weaver is fresh and readable making the whole book so accessible.

Each city is so wondrous that I didn’t put the book down until I had finished and had to read it a second time straight after finishing the first reading.


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