Book Review: Invisible Cities By Italo Calvino

Book: Invisible Cities

Author: Italo Calvino

Publications: Vintage Digital

Price: Rs. 299

Pages: 160

Plot: Marco Polo, a Venetian traveller and an explorer narrate the cities he has visited on his expeditions to Kublai Khan. The King may not necessarily believe in all that he says, but he still continues to listen to all his accounts with great attention and curiosity.

He described many cities, like Isaura, a city of thousand wells, where according to people, the city’s god lives in the depth, in the black lake that feeds the underground streams. While according to others, the gods live in the buckets that rise, suspended from a cable.

Then there is a city called Zobeide which is built by men who have an identical dream. A dream in which they saw a woman running at night through an unknown city, seen from behind, naked, with long hair. They dreamed of pursuing her, but they all lost her. But they found one another and they decided to build a city like the one in the dream.

Invisible Cities
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino

He also describes a city named Armilla, this city has no walls, no ceilings, no floors, it 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.

And then there is my favourite city, Fedora, where, in the centre of it stands a metal building with a crystal globe in every room. But these globes are not like the ones we see. Into each globe, you see a blue city, the model of different Fedora. These are the forms the city could have taken if, for one reason or another, it had not become what we see today.

There are many such cities which Marco Polo tells about to Kublai Khan, it can be that these are mere his imaginations, the cities he is travelling in his mind while talking about, or it can be that he is recreating minute details of his native Venice.

My Views: The one word which I can say about this book is, beautiful. The way Italo Calvino has described each and every city is nothing but just amazing. You may the find the city absurd, you may find it peculiar but the description will always remain wondrous.

The book spoke to me on a different level. I found a message hidden in every city. Let’s say for example the city Fedora where in the building, there is one crystal globe in every room. And each globe shows a different Fedora, the one which it could have been. I feel that this is how our life is. We all face many choices and many paths, we choose one and we built our life the way it is today. But there are paths which are not taken if taken would have made our life totally different.

So I found this book appealing and a hidden treasure for me.

Regarding the language, well this book needs your full attention while reading. The language is difficult and lack of any plot makes it more difficult. I would say definitely not for light reading.

Recommendations: This book is for anyone who loves to explore, not just the cities or the world, but also the world of imagination and life.

Ratings: 5/5

Tangled Tourista
Tangled Tourista is an online diary, which is about travel, food and books. Here you will read about book reviews and suggestions, tested travelling tips and about new cafes and restaurants around and their reviews.

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