Invisible Cities


Each time he returns from his travels, Marco Polo is invited by Kublai Khan to describe the cities he has visited. But Calvino is describing only one city – Venice. Invisible Cities has been described as Calvino’s most beautiful work.

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Fifty-five fictional cities, each described in beautiful detail – each with a woman’s name…

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.’

This is a captivating meditation on culture, language, time, memory and the nature of human experience.

Invisible Cities changed the way we read and what is possible in the balance between poetry and prose… The book I would choose as pillow and plate, alone on a desert island’ Jeanette Winterson

‘Touches inexhaustibly on the essence of the human urge to create cities, be in cities, speak of cities’ Guardian

‘A subtle and beautiful meditation’ Sunday Times