Italo Calvino's ‘Invisible Cities' is a book which has no plot as such -- no beginning, no development of characters -- but it does have a sad, bittersweet ending.
It is a collection of one page descriptions of the cities that Marco Polo visited on his long travels, interspersed with a succession of dialogues between Kublai Khan, the oriental emperor and Marco Polo who describes fantastic and often magical cities, charactericized by a unique quality or concept.
The novel shines magnificently as a study and examination of our strange relationship with memory. As Polo tells Khan, "It is not the voice that tells the story, but the ear." As Calvino also notes, the best way to really maintain and preserve our memories is to leave them be. Only in this way can we avoid the temptation of returning to them and likely distorting and warping them from their original state.

Cities and memory

Diomira
Isidora
Zaira
Zora
Maurilia


Cities and desire

Dorotea
Anastasia
Despina
Fedora
Zobeide

 

Cities and signs

Tamara
Zirma
Zoe
Hypatia
Olivia


Thin cities

Isaura
Zenobia
Armilla
Sophronia
Octavia

 

Trading cities

Euphemia
Chloe
Eutropia
Ersilia
Esmeralda

 

Cities and eyes

Valdrada
Zemrude
Baucis
Phyllis
Moriana


Cities and names

Aglaura
Leandra
Pyrrha
Clarice
Irene

 

Cities and the dead

Melania
Adelma
Eusapia
Argia
Laudomia

 

Cities and the sky

Eudoxia
Beersheba
Thekla
Perinthia
Andria

 

Continuous cities

Leonia
Trude
Procopia
Cecilia
Pentesilea

Hidden cities

Olinda
Raissa
Marozia
Teodora
Berenice

 




 
 

Copyright © 1999-2012 Colleen Corradi Brannigan
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