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Invisible Cities
  • ISBN: 9780099429838
  • Pages: 160
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • Binding: Paperback

Invisible Cities

Italo Calvino

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In Invisible Cities Marco Polo conjures up cities of magical times for his host, the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan, but gradually it becomes clear that he is actually describing one city: Venice.

As Gore Vidal wrote ‘Of all tasks, describing the contents of a book is the most difficult and in the case of a marvellous invention like Invisible Cities, perfectly irrelevant.’

Reviewed by Richard Brown in Slightly Foxed Issue 79.

Beyond the Safe Zone

Richard Brown

Marco Polo is regaling his host Kublai Khan with descriptions of cities he says he has visited. These are delivered as gnomic reflections, none of which stretches over more than a couple of pages and some of which fit into a single paragraph. These accounts are framed by similarly brief glimpses of the interactions between the traveller and the emperor as they sit together and imagine distant cities . . . You could consume the whole thing in one breathless evening.

Extract from Slightly Foxed Issue 79, Autumn 2023

Beyond the Safe Zone

Of all the hopeless tasks I have ever set myself, perhaps the most quixotic has been my attempt to persuade undergraduate historians to read fiction. In my experience the average student is pretty...

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