Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino


I read this book for the first time in snatches over a school day, or maybe two. It might be my favorite book.


Signs, Symbols, and language

Calvino is constantly playing with how things are communicated. In the first interlude he reveals that all the descriptions you'd previously read might have been communicated between people don't even speak the same language. Instead Marco Polo used.

gestures, leaps, cries of wonder and of horror, animal barkings or hootings, or with objects he took from his knapsack

Then the interlude at the start of the next section is a scene where the two men communicuate with each other each sitting in silence.

Also, keep in mind I'm reading this book translated.


Perhaps, Kublai thought, the empire is nothing but a zodiac of the mind’s phantasms.

‘On the day when I know all the emblems,’ he asked Marco, ‘shall I be able to possess my empire, at last?’

And the Venetian answered: ‘Sire, do not believe it. On that day you will be an emblem among emblems.’_

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