am 27. September 1999
Whoever has a problem with Calvino's 'Insivible Cities' obviously has little imagination. Calvino, on the other hand, is preoccupied with the human mind's ability to imagine. Some people see his cities in their mind's eye, adding texture, colour, hues and shapes and forms as they attempt to follow his visual descriptions. Other people create his cities through auditory means - they disect his descriptions and re-create it in song. For them, symphonies are Calvino's cities. Other people approach it with more kinethsetic means. They gain a sense of the city, without forming a picture, or constructing it through sounds and music. They feel what it would be to exist in Calvino's city. They connect with the cities nature. (see your local NLP for details. To be more precise, read "NLP explained") My point is, Calvino explores imagination the way no author has ever done. He frees himself of the here and now, the pieces of reality with which humans live with because they have been taught to do so. He perhaps understands the wonder that is the human imagination. Or, at least, he raises it as a conversational topic. Genius? Perhaps not, but has any other author achieved the same effect?
am 30. Juni 1998
So here I was, flying north, thinking about themes such as axioms, storytelling, pattern recognition, and facilitation from the grandest, most broad vantage point. Before me, this short book of short stories based upon conversations between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. Invisible Cities is very simple on the surface. It contains several series' of short stories - 1 to 3 pages in length - that chronicle Polo's excursions into cities throughout the domain of The Khan. The stage is Khan's garden, where Polo has been summoned to report on his journies. Each series of stories is bound by a brief contextual passage, usually a dialogue between Polo and Khan about the nature of Polo's journies and their meaning. From this simple structure, Calvino weaves a rich tapestry of patterns, some obvious (take a look at the table of contents) some very subtle (read between the lines when you read the passages that bridge one section to the next).
Calvino is a masterful story teller - with an uncanny abililty to create space, setting, scene and mood. I found Invisible Cities a personal, intimate read. Marvelous.
am 29. Januar 1999
He wrote so many books, and most of them are good, some of the very good. But probably this is his real masterpiece, and the number of enthusiastic comments here should be proof of this. It is highly ironic that Calvino was busy writing his Citta' invisibili, that is, his invisible cities while Italians were busy spoiling their towns and cities--but that's the way history goes. This is the great modernist book for all those who have been scared by Ulysses; readable, crystal-clear and endlessly rich, witty, tender sometime. And with a great ending (it HAS and ending, after all)--which sounds terribly bitter to Italian ears. But English-reading people will be fascinated by its mythical echoes and hints.
Besides, this is the best book to start with if you never read anything written by this great Italian writer. You can read the rest later (and you won't be disappointed), but this is THE Introduction to Calvino's multiple narrative worlds. Enjoy!
am 19. April 1998
Can I tell you how much I love Italo Calvino?
When you come to Calvino you are probably lost, tired, or under duress from an overzealous English professor. You think, what is the style of this man? About what does he write? And why are the chapters so short? And could he not choose more hideous type in which to set the names of those chapters?
Ah, now you are beginning to truly love Calvino. For it is only when you recognize that the man maddens you no end, that his "style which is no style" (as he says of himself in IOAWNAT) is gentle and beautiful and feels like an old friend-but an old friend that you never met-that you can truly begin to live inside one of his novels. And you will never want to leave. Savor this book. Read it slowly, one magic city at a time. Exist in it for weeks, turning the lessons like foreign coins over in your mind.
And get the book in paperback so it won't damage the walls.
am 13. April 2000
In this slight book I found poetry, philosophical discourse, the stakes to a game of chess, and one of the finest last lines to a novel: "...seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of the inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space." A beautiful affirmation of humanity! This novel abounds with thoughtful and deep-inside-wrenching remarks, interlaced with poetic descriptions of countless imaginary cities that live and breath the characteristics of the all-too-real cities of the world today. The progression of city-experiences in this novel reminded me a little of the snapshot scenarios in Calvino's Marcovaldo. BUT, this book is still completely different! This book spurred my own imagination as Marco Polo's and Kublai Kahn's are intertwined within the covers. A wonder at many different levels and will be added to the very short list of books that I re-read every few years.
am 7. März 2000
I had the good fortune to read "Invisible Cities" while in Venice and other parts of Northern Italy, where I felt like I was visiting many of the cities described in the book. This book is a tiny little gem collection, with descriptions of each city stretching your brain in a different direction. However, I do feel that some of the chapters are repetitive, particularly on the theme of cities that contain their opposites. For that, I have taken away one star in my review. It reminded me very much of Alan Lightman's book "Einstein's Dreams" which I would also recommend (he's no Calvino, but the format and brain-stretching are similar). My favorite Calvino book will forever remain "If On A Winter's Night A Traveler," which if you do not own you should immediately order a dozen copies and pass them out to everyone you know.
am 2. August 2015
Habe etwas Leichtes, Lockeres als Sommerlektüre bzw. für die Bahnfahrt gesucht und gefunden.
Gestoßen bin ich auf das Buch online, in einer Empfehlungsliste für Bücher, die man recht schnell durchlesen kann und die leicht verdaulich sind.
Das Buch ist in mehrere kleinere Kapitel unterteilt, die man sehr gut an einem Stück durchlesen kann. Keines dauert länger als maximal 15 Minuten (subjektive Einschätzung), was es sehr angenehm macht, vor allem, wenn man mal schnell umsteigen muss oder nur kurz zum Lesen hat.
Obwohl eigentlich nur eine Stadt in dem Buch dargestellt wird, scheint es in jedem Kapitel um eine andere zu gehen, die Art der Beschreibung ändert sich, Atmosphäre/Baustile/geographische Besonderheiten, jedoch nie der Detailreichtum.
Ich bin sehr zufrieden mit dem Buch, war genau das, was ich gesucht hatte.
am 30. November 1998
If this books does not make you yearn to learn Italian just to hear the flow of the text in its native tongue, nothing will. Some complain of lack of characters and lack of plot. "Pfaw!" I say to them. This is a book beyond such petty measurements. This is a short book, yet it will take you days to read it as each chapter, often no more than 2-3 pages, some as short as 1, takes you to a different experience of the human soul. Have you even felt constrained by your past, your relationships, your desires? All of this is here. This is not a "novel" in the classical sense, but rather a mode of exploration of what it means to be human, often disappointed, occaisionally enlightened, always questioning. This is a work of crystal, delicate, crafted, light. Come back to it again and again to learn!
am 12. Juli 1998
where should i begin? calvino takes us with this book to a new kind of writing, a new kind of being. if u want a proof to the uniqeness of books in the movie era you shoud read this one! no plot and hardly developed charcters, but the tension is in the words and the ideas, who take lives of their own, and we embark with them on a juorney to our innerselves upon calvino's amazing wings of imagination. i am astonished to discover time after time how calvino puts in a few pages, as if it's not such a hard effort, what i didnt find in complete fantasy novels who proclaym themselves "imagentive" but are actualy a recycling of the same ideas. after a few readings u would start to find new levels of ideas, new and infinate connections inside this never-ending book of mystery. read it.read again and again...
am 4. November 1999
if you havent read this book, be sure to get a hold of it. if you dont have an imagination that allows you to dream of beauty and of desires, then look up this book and you will be grateful. i came about the bok because of a school project....in architecture and now i wish i had studied it in literature because it just has so much to offer. let your imagination run wild, let the book take over your emotions nad your dreams and see what you make of it. its brilliant, something you can read in your leisure time and feel great about it! youll wanna keep going back to the book. the discovery is yours, the cities are yours to create....imagine them and live with your thoughts....no one can take that away from you@