books / pandemic

Invisible Cities

November 14, 20202 min read
Vintage Calvino
Invisible Cities, by Italo Calvino

1: Diomira (Memory 1), Isidora (Memory 2), Dorothea (Desire 1), Zaira (Memory 3), Anastasia (Desire 2), Tamara (Signs 1), Zora (Memory 4), Despina (Desire 3), Zirma (Signs 2), Isaura (Thin 1) 2: Maurilia (Memory 5), Fedora (Desire 4), Zoe (Signs 3), Zenobia (Thin 2), Euphemia (Trading 1)

(Now I know the order of Zenobia, one of our first friends in New York.)


Italo Calvino is "the only great writer of my time" -- Gore Vidal

Invisible Cities seems suitable only for an adult who has seen many cities. I never read Borges as a teenager, though I read a little Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a bit of Paulo Coelho, and a lot of Umberto Eco. Never read Marco Polo either...

I could guess at or gloss over most of the extreme historical/obscure/literate references. Quite proud to have gotten cornucopia (an attribute of a statue of a god), capital (opposite of a plinth), vellum bindings, volumes of Averroes...but had to look up the Comte de Buffon ("volumes of Buffon and Linnaeus")

Feel blessed to know these: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Kyoto-Osaka

In the same way as while reading an article recently on public transit around the world, I also felt blessed to know: Toronto, Columbus, DC, New York, Boston, San Francisco ... and to have clues on Nashville and Portland by way of Austin


Helen Blunden describes it as reading an artwork, perfect for coronavirus times and this is what we need

can't go to the museum? read Invisible Cities

Amazing fact: there is no city (past or present) like right-this-moment New York City

Italo CalvinoInvisible Citiesthe only great writer of my timeNew York City
長話短說 (short + sweet):
Thanks for reading, anon!