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Näkymättömät kaupungit

4.20  ·  Rating Details  ·  31,970 Ratings  ·  2,283 Reviews
Marco Polo ja Kublai-kaani ovat Italo Calvinon klassikkoromaanin päähenkilöt. Nämä miehet istuvat pitkää iltaa ja Marco Polo kertoo näkemistään lukemattomista kaupungeista. Yhdessä he miettivät niiden olemusta ja merkitystä ja Kublai väittää, ettei kaupunkeja ole olemassakaan. Ovatko ne vain helvetin kuvajaista – ja kuitenkin ne outoudessaan tuntuvat tutuilta?

Italian viime
Hardcover, 167 pages
Published 2006 by Tammi (first published 1972)
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Riku Sayuj

Invisible Cities; Imagined Lives

Marco Polo was a dreamer. He had great ambitions - wanting to be a traveller, a writer and a favored courtier. He wanted to live in the lap of luxury in his lifetime and in the best illustrated pages of history later. But he could only be a dreamer and never much more. Was it good enough? He never travelled anywhere and spent his life dreaming away in hisVenice and is remembered to this day as the greatest explorer and travel writer of all time. How did that com

Heidi Whitman - Brain Terrain.

I have not read Marco Polos’s Journeys, but I could imagine what he has written. Had I read it, I also would have had to imagine what he had written. Same verbs, different tenses.

As I am sitting on a bench in front of a museum, waiting for a friend, a family of Italian tourists comes and sits next to me. They come from the land of Marco Polo, or maybe not, may be from the land of Italo Calvino since I do not know if they are Venetians. Italy was a projection of th
Oct 08, 2015 Dolors rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Empty your mind to spot the pattern in the chaos.
Recommended to Dolors by: Garima
One could easily declare that the protagonists of this book are the cities, which are different versions of the same city that doesn’t really exist, only maybe in the writer’s mind. Either Venice or Paris, Calvino’s cities are a trip through imagination to lives never had, doors never opened, people never met.

Someone else might appoint the reader as the real protagonist of Calvino’s book for he becomes the traveler who visits these cities mentally, which are nothing else than representa
Paul Bryant
Aug 31, 2015 Paul Bryant rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels

Marco Polo : Now I shall tell you of the beautiful city of Nottingham where the buildings are made mostly of blue glass, onyx and sausagemeat. The men of the city trade in fur, spices and photographs of each other with their respective spouses. All the men have large phalluses, sometimes so large they must cut pieces out of the tops of their front doors before they can exit their houses in the morning. This is a city of dreamers and anthropophagi, of astronomers and chess players, all with the l
Paquita Maria Sanchez
This is the third book that I have attempted to write a response to this week, and failed. I think I am going through a very internal, sponge-like phase. To say that I haven't been going out much would be a ridiculous understatement. I hole up in my bed, finish a book, set it down and grab another almost instantly, comparing the smell of the old to that of the new, then dive straight in, surfacing only rarely for air. I haven't felt up to hammering down my feelings about these things that I have ...more

Image of new and old Shanghai, photographed by Greg Girard in 2000 (, chronologically equidistant between my two visits there. It is, and maybe always has been, a city of contrasting, unequal, parts and pairs, like many of the Invisible Cities.

“Each man bears in his mind a city made only of differences.”


I’ve been eavesdropping on the mysterious, hypnotic conversations between a famous explorer from antiquity and the powerful emperor of a distant lan
It's easy to describe what 'Invisible Cities' is not rather than what it is because it's really very difficult to ascertain which category it can be put into; it neither has a clear plot nor characters are developed as they normally are, it's can't be called a novel or collection of stories, it can't be put in any one genre since it surpasses so many genres; but still it's something extraordinary, something which can't be described in words, something which can only be felt.

The book has loose d
Dan Schwent
Mar 12, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Marco Polo and Kublai Khan talk of cities Marco has visited.

Where to begin with this one? I thought the writing was beautiful. Calvino and his translator painted vivid pictures of various cities, each a seemingly magical realm with its own quirks. As Marco tells more and more stories, Kublai questions the nature of his empire.

Unfortunately, very little actually happens. While they are very well written, the individual city tales read almost like entries in a poet's travel journal. There's not re
Nov 14, 2015 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I live in a city, and every day I ride the subway with people who live in different cities. Aggressively loud teenagers, exhausted laborers with grimy hands, sparkling skinny women in careful clothes, Michael Cera: I don't think they would recognize my city.

But we find our city, and our city finds us, right? The Flamethrowers' artist Reno moves to a New York full of artists madly creating. Patrick Bateman is fake, and he lives in a fake New York. The Street's Lutie lives in a cruel New York, and
Italo Calvino is a veritable drug. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, and don't trust them if they do.

Ever since the rapturous reading experience that is If on a Winter's Night a Traveler, I have been hooked on the man's words. As it is with most blossoming relationships, I'm a little wary of coming on too strong or getting too close too quickly and chipping away at the charming veneer of novelty in the throes of my overeager enthusiasm before we've gotten comfortable with each other, but this
Rakhi Dalal
Dec 10, 2013 Rakhi Dalal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: calvino, journey, dreams
A city inhabiting one’s inside, its streets, lanes and by-lanes running in the veins and arteries, the hubbub of the city enlivening even the tiniest fraction of a being. The city; living, breathing, growing and leaving an impression in the very essence, even if it is never visited in one’s lifetime. And then - a multitude of such cities, standing under the auspices of their heritage, a witness to the chronicles of their golden times, cities with their halos; an invisible but inescapable allure. ...more
Sep 25, 2014 Megha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews

If on a winter's night a traveller were to set out to traverse the garden of forking paths, she could perhaps follow the moon in its flight to catch the sleepwalkers caught in a midsummer night's dream. She could walk east of Eden to see midnight's children appear, only to lose themselves into a frolic of their own. She could turn at a bend in the river to come upon the savage detectives figuring out the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime. She could walk up to the tree of smoke and fin
Nandakishore Varma
Oh,the city, city... the endless sea...
Fun and games on top, mud and filth beneath -
A beauty who smiles on the surface;
The mistress who wouldn't let you go...

So wrote one of our poets.

You live in the city: and slowly, the city starts living in you. It takes on a life of its own in your mind. Once the city gets to you, it won't let you go. (I speak from personal experience. I spent twelve eventful years of my life in Cochin, and I carry that city with me, even here in the Middle East.)

Italo Ca
Since my copy of if on a winter's night a traveler is on its way, I thought of equipping myself with writings of Italo Calvino. In the meanwhile I laid my hands upon Invisible Cities. It’s one of the few books to which I have given 5 stars making it clearly evident as to how much I loved it. This work of Calvino is an unadulterated imagination booksonified. It can best be described as the figment of everybody’s imagination. I hope I can safely say for everyone that once in our lives we have imag ...more
"What are men to rocks and mountains?" - Jane Austen
Or should I say, "What are men to cities and structures?"

I finish Invisible Cities as my parents plan their trip to Europe. As someone who loves going to new places and travelling, there is a sense of irony that I feel as I review this. As a 21 year old student with neither the money nor the means to embark on a journey myself, I find myself wandering about the cities that Marco Polo describes to the great Kublai Khan.

Invisible Cities is a f
J.G. Keely
In writing, pretension is the act of pulling your hamstring while lifting your pen. It is that sudden, clear, and unfortunate. It should also be avoidable, but anyone gifted with a grain of brilliance is tempted to extend it as far as they can, like Donne's speck of dust stretched the length of the universe, one is left wondering whether it was more ludicrous or thought-provoking.

Calvino's 'Invisible Cities' is a series of descriptions of mythical, impossible cities told by Marco Polo to Kublai
Feb 27, 2014 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
After sunset, on the terraces of the palace, Marco Polo expounded to the sovereign the results of his missions. As a rule the Great Khan concluded his day savoring these tales with half-closed eyes until his first yawn was the signal for the suite of pages to light the flames that guided the monarch to the Pavilion of August Slumber.
But this time Kublai seemed unwilling to give in to the weariness.
"Tell me another city!" he insisted.

With Marco Polo cast in the role of Scheherezade and Kublai K
João Fernandes
Jan 22, 2016 João Fernandes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

"With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else."

'Invisible Cities' is a fantastic ode to the imagination, and Italo Calvino drives the pen over paper, drawing with words the outlines
Jul 29, 2009 Bram rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, favorites
Given the subject matter—um, descriptions of cities—I wasn’t expecting this book to affect me on such a personal, visceral level. But during the final city description and again in Marco Polo’s closing dialogue with Kublai Khan, I got serious chills. And to put that in perspective, I was finishing it outside (90+ degrees) George Bush Intercontinental Houston, or whatever the hell that airport’s called. Now this effect may have been compounded by the fact that I was also listening to the Conan th ...more
Pradnya K.
I live in a city. It's not small, neither big but it's always happening. It's sheltered with huge green trees and the city looks like an emerald. When seasons change, the city changes its colors. It then resembles to red rubies or molten gold. I wish it'd be lapis lazuli once in a year. My city is strange in a way. It's city I've always dreamt of since childhood when I just knew it by name. Accidentally I stumbled into it and never left. But I feel it hypnotized me, pulled me towards it and neve ...more
Jan 15, 2015 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
All the spaces we inhabit are in some way our dreams. All the spaces we pass through are composed by our subjective perceptions for us as much as they are composed of the objective material that works on those perceptions. All spaces hold and reflect something of ourselves, our histories. I sit in my carefully arranged room composing this piece on Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities; I am seated in a comfortable chair, it is arranged below a window that lets in copious light in the mornings and aft ...more
Mar 22, 2015 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Cities and Eyes

There is a world that lies atop a mound of green, where the treetops are tinged with rust and people fly by on bicycles and shoes with wheels. The saunterers wander off the criss-crossed madness of paths and cut up and down hills, across grassy plains, diving into the forested fringes.


We are on Mount Royal, the fabled dead volcano visited by schoolchildren on geography trips and tourists searching for a grander view of the city below. The air is crisp up here. Each inch of space
Nov 12, 2012 Emma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: The world
Recommended to Emma by: Shan Jago
Calvino is an extraordinary writer, isn’t he? I’m consistently blown away by his prose, imagination and originality. He is not a writer that I was familiar with before goodreads. I try to discuss him with my friends, but they have never heard of him. Even my mother in-law, who is a retired English teacher, is not au fait with his work. When I read a book like Invisible Cities, I want to shout from the rooftops how brilliant Calvino is and that nobody should wait, like me, until they are 32 to pi ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
This book is so incredibly beautiful, that I felt like just giving it a five star speechless review. Than I remembered all the likes I stood to miss out, that way. Therfore I take shelter in that old saying 'Imitation is the best form of flattery':

Changing cities

For good or for bad, you will never forget your first visit to the park city ‘Raag’. You can’t direct anyone to it, it can only be discovered accidentally, and discovered only in pairs. It is only in pairs that you are allowed entry, f

Artwork: Jacek Yerka “Piana”

The stories in Invisible Cities are dreamy and overflowing with creativity which alone is enough of a reason to read them. But then Calvino goes deeper and carries the reader into the realms of philosophy and metaphysics, using his cities to ponder the very nature of perception. I felt like I was on a wild ride at times!

At one moment in the book Kublai Kahn becomes skeptical and wonders if Marco Polo is in fact making up his cities, basing them merely on impressions
Ian Grayejoy
Hidden Cities * 6

You once asked me to describe Venice, and I told you that, every time I described a city, I was saying something about Venice. That was only partly true. In a way, I told you everything I knew about Venice, and nothing.

The truth is that when we first met, I barely knew Venice, its buildings, its canals, its gardens, its squares, its people. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. Let me explain why.

Do you know how old I was when I first left Venice with my father and uncle? Six!
Nov 14, 2015 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities


It was kinda cool to start reading this as I was finishing Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Reading about the historical Khan while sipping from the imagined Khan was a trip. This is a difficult book to get your mind around. At heart, it is a book of architecture,
Henry Martin
You past adolescence and enter the world of adult literature. At first, you read anything and everything that found its way to your hands; then, slowly you begin discovering your own, unique literary taste, and you become selective. The more you read, the more selective you become. Your list of favorite authors and genres grows; you find literary voices that speak directly to your soul. By now, you have reached mid age, and you have over two decades of serious reading under your belt. Any new bo ...more
Apr 02, 2011 Mon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Invisible Cities: A Parody

Now i shall tell of the city of Yendys, which is wonderful in this fashion: though set on an even coastal plane with mediocre breeze and timid weather, the houses and decorated sheds are of bricks and corrugated iron, connected to each other with quiet courtyards split by pairs, surrounded with exotic, tidy bush of ginormous flowers, man-sized tin water tanks, weather vanes and shinny Japanese vehicles parked on dark grey gravel street that glistens under the sun.

No on
Apr 11, 2015 [P] rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitchin
You: What is Invisible Cities?

[P]: A short Borgesian novel by Italo Calvino in which the traveller Marco Polo describes a series of [mostly fantastical] cities for the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan.

You: What’s it all about?

[P]: I just told you.

You: No, you gave me a synopsis. What’s it really about? What was this Calvino guy trying to say?

[P]: Ah, shit.

You: You don’t know?

[P]: I’m not sure. It’s hard to explain. Marcel Proust once wrote, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Novels of very short stories or fragments 7 57 Dec 05, 2015 02:05AM  
Guardian Newspape...: March- invisible cities 10 21 Apr 01, 2015 04:08PM  
Invisible cities as imagined by artist Colleen Corradi Brannigan 1 99 May 20, 2013 05:15PM  
The Italo Calvino...: Favourite city from Invisible Cities 7 126 Apr 13, 2013 06:00AM  
This was my first Calvino book, which next? 10 148 Jan 06, 2013 07:20AM  
  • Labyrinths:  Selected Stories and Other Writings
  • That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana
  • The Notebooks of Serafino Gubbio
  • Species of Spaces and Other Pieces
  • Poem Strip
  • Chimera
  • Gogol's Wife and Other Stories
  • The Moon and the Bonfire
  • The Emigrants
  • Man in the Holocene
  • The Wine-Dark Sea
  • The Little Disturbances of Man
  • Sixty Stories
  • The Time of Indifference
  • The Leopard
  • The Ragazzi
  • Conversations in Sicily
  • The Street of Crocodiles
Italo Calvino was born in Cuba and grew up in Italy. He was a journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952-1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If On a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979).

His style is not easily classified; much of his writing has an air of the fantastic
More about Italo Calvino...

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“Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.” 315 likes
“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.” 267 likes
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