Monday, June 20, 2016

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

Invisible CitiesInvisible Cities by Italo Calvino

This very short novel is completely unique in that it is collection of stories about cities that are really ideas and feelings. The stories are tied together by an imagined conversation between Marco Polo, who is reporting on the cities, and Kublai Khan who is unable to venture out and explore himself.

It's about memory, so it's interesting to reread it and see what I do and don't remember about the cities. The first time I read it was in 2010 while my dad was dying, and the city that stuck out was the one where ships sailed out and none returned. But in my reread I discovered this wasn't one of Marco Polo's cities but the Kublai Khan's dream, to which Marco Polo replies, "Forgive me, my lord, there is no doubt that sooner or later I shall set sail from that dock... but I shall not come back to tell you about it. The city exists and it has a simple secret: it knows only departures, not returns."

P.S. Holy cow the Mongol Empire was huge! I never realized it was that big!

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