Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
Italo Calvino’s stories do not imitate, familiarize, or instruct a reader toward the infinite possibilities of imagination. They transcend, magnify, and remodel the fabric of literature itself. Invisible Cities is an unconventional and intuitive book of descriptions. Descriptions of the inner workings of many cities that are masterfully-crafted to tickle the mind’s eye. You come across stories that highlight the lives of its characters; through character development, we, as readers, can familiarize ourselves with the story’s environment. This can be any fictional or real location. Haruki Murakami is one author whose magical realism is more character-driven and idiosyncratic. Books like Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle possess their own lively imagination necessarily brought to life by their vividly-portrayed characters. Italo Calvino’s magical realism is broader, more telescopic, offering the most extraordinary descriptions and motifs of places rather than people. This is new and rewarding because you can imagine being a part of all the cities Calvino so beautifully describes. He writes you as a character in his stories. This is the genius of Calvino in the world of literature. This is how he invites his readers to feel more… and participate in his stories. Invisible Cities is a spider-web of cities. Some familiar, some strange; some phantasmagorical, some distinctly childlike and sincere. It’s a short read but satisfyingly so. The narration is layered and intimate. This book is a traveler’s delight and a tourist’s serendipity.
Writers like Calvino re-define the map of literature and will continue, eternally, to chart new terrain, new passages, and new recesses of imagination and creativity. Much like a film that blends reality with dreams - Federico Fellini’s ‘8 ½’ being one of them - the literary architecture of Invisible Cities is aesthetically-compelling.