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review 2018-05-25 18:31
Invisible Cities - Italo Calvino and everyone's imagination
Invisible Cities - William Weaver,Italo Calvino

“For those who pass it without entering, the city is one thing; it is another for those who are trapped by it and never leave. There is the city where you arrive for the first time; and there is another city which you leave never to return. Each deserves a different name; perhaps I have already spoken of Irene under other names; perhaps I have spoken only of Irene.” 

         ― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

My memory of this book a month after finishing it is almost like a memory of a particularly good guided meditation (OK, I don't have a ton of experience with good guided meditation, but I know bad ones!) This is a nifty book. It seems so simple: Marco Polo telling tales to Kublai Khan about his travels through the Mongol Empire, with some notable additions. So there's a realm where it's a bit like a travelogue to all the cities I've visited, lived in, loved or have wished to see ― a wonderful imaginative experience. And there's another realm where it's philosophy about cities, humankind, differences and similarities, the changes that happen over time both physically and mentally ― and this is the part where the meditation comes in. It's a terrific book that I wasn't sure I wanted to read before I started. It starts slowly, but once you start to see what's happening between the two main characters and the world in which we all live, it starts to seem almost too short.

 

It also made me very curious about a lot of things and one of the best things I found along the way was a course curriculum for school students based on Invisible Cities found here and the Yale National Initiative seminar "Invisible Cities: The Arts and Renewable Community."

 

Those are just two things I thought were kind of awesome, but there are other nonfiction books and all sorts of memory/artistic and other creative projects that tie into this book. You could spend a lifetime doing nothing but reading related texts. Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities is an incredibly imaginative springboard to seeing our world using our fullest imagination.

 

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review 2018-02-05 15:38
If on a winter's night a traveler
If on a Winter's Night a Traveler - William Weaver,Italo Calvino

An exercise in parody

 

 

You are about to read அரவிந்தாக்க்ஷன review of calvino’s work. Ask your people not to call you for any reason whatsoever for next few minutes.
You are reading this since Calvino’s work interest you. You have read all his other works except this. You have read about it Somewhere vaguely, so you ought to find what I have to say about it or rather I have been pestering you to read it by sending u a link of my review for past few days.

 


At this point, you get bored that I have not said anything about the work. Somewhere in your mind, there is a mild thought that I may say something about this work at the 119th word of this post.

 


But you are mistaken to find and let down that I have still not said anything worthwhile.

Just when u think I am going to say something about calvino’s work you are called by someone in your house and you throw your mobile which refreshes the facebook page in a rare instance or in a fit of alarm you close your PC’s window.
You return to your device and continue reading this review, but you find you are reading some other book’s review by someone else.

 

 

You read first few sentences and have formed a liking for this new book not connected to அரவிந்தாக்க்ஷன் review.

Before this happens you have informed your friend ( who takes interest in Indian languages ) about finding my Tamil name in facebook and sending my profile link.

 

 

The person to whom this has been assigned is a person who considers himself a polyglot, but he is a more of a novelty seeker than a serious learner of languages. He Learns a bit in one language and switches to some other Language, after the initial high recedes. So goes his routine of language seeking.

So the person tries to find the keys in his google keyboard and mistakenly believes his strength in knowledge of Tamil rather than using Google’s English translator to Tamil equivalent. So the person comes up with ரவி கிரண் in place of அரவிந்தாக்க்ஷன், sends the same to you.

 

 

You, when the message pops, stop reading the current review and checks the profile and confirms by the photo that it’s the same person and returns to the review of which you have been reading and finds the review to be quite different suddenly. Actually, the writer of the review at this point discusses the subplot of the work he is reviewing. It takes a while for you to understand this and finally you find this is a book by the same author calvino which you haven’t read already, called “Outside the Town of Malbrok”.

 


You are sad, but comes back to this ரவி கிரண் review to read the rest of the review, which you think அரவிந்தாக்க்ஷன் has written and find it completely a new book, but again by calvino, called “learning from the steep slope”.

This has made you further sad, you thought you have read everything by calvino except his “If on a winter’s night traveler”.

Just while this goes in your head you notice that this is not Aravindakshan’s profile, his profile photo was different and also, a simple common sense strikes you. How could he write a review other than if on a winter night’s a traveler ?

 

.

You confirm that this is not Aravindakshan’s profile by scrolling further in Ravi kiran’s profile and not finding Calvino’s “if on a winter night’s a traveler” review. Perhaps a double!(?), you think, since the face resembles Aravindakshan.

 

 

Now, you try to reorder your thoughts and your memory for a minute, slowly and understands it all started when u read அரவிந்தாக்க்ஷன் review of Italo calvino’s “if on a winter’s night a traveler”.

 


Actually, the truth was, your liking for the second review, is in a way as a connection to the review of the first which you have not yet sensed, both which in turn is connected to Ravi kiran’s review.

Since it was all started by the first reviewer you scroll to find his review again to see whether he has finally said anything about the book at the “god knows what word by now”.
You couldn’t find it. The post is lost amidst the sea of posts churned out on facebook.

You ask your friend to check whether he as turned up with the right profile. Even though it has hurt his ego he checks and realise his mistake but while clarifying to you, he points the mistake to the linguistic peculiarity of Tamil rather than accept his own mistake.
With the new exact Tamil words for Aravindakshan, you search
Facebook, but it says the profile cannot be found

 

.

Aravindakshan meanwhile, after clicking the share button lost his interest in virtual life and once for all decided to do away with all this virtual imagery.

You try to check Ravi kiran’s review which couldn’t be found either since the owner of both Profiles is created by a person called Srivatsan and he has deactivated both the accounts.

 

 

You feel lost. He has set the wheel in motion and now he has vanished. You return to the other reviewer’s post(the unnamed reviewer) to find the connection between the two reviews to his. You stretch your memory to think of the earlier reviews and place this other review to form a whole but you cannot do, since this reviewer at the end of his review points to another review, which he says the book’s plot is mainly centered on.
It reads a review of Calvino’s “without fear of wind or vertigo” by Gullu.

 

 

You are tired, but you still follow the trail of reviews centered on Calvino. You are half way at Gullu’s review, by then you are sure that all the review is of a different story, separate books, but from the same author.
You feel salty by all this and also thirsty. You feel it whenever you read something for too long without any proper direction.

 

 

You feel betrayed by the author because you were thinking he was the only author you have read extensively.
Now it’s all a dream, he has been writing in private and holding all the books from the public but to his own favorite readers and you are not one of that favoured readers.
You sleep dejected and cry the whole night.

 

 

Now, Aravindakshan having started this act of knotting this textual thread has been lost in the maze of his own and struggles to get out and finish this. In effect, understands the greatness and difficulty in writing a piece such as this. Comes out appreciating Calvino’s Magnum opus further, even though he did feel boring in the middle of the book.

 

 

But the story doesn’t end here. Aravindakshan or ravi kiran or Srivatsan reactivates his fb again in some days as is always the case and sends you, being a dear friend of his, this review, with a line saying it’s a classic by Calvino.
I leave it to you how you might have reacted.

 

 

Post factum :
You decide to buy “if on a winter’s night a traveler” to prove Aravindakshan how better admirer you are of Calvino's work and find these separate titles are all from the same book to your surprise, relief. You feel it’s more dizzying and original than most post-modern lit.

 

 

Post scriptum :
It was later found that the unnamed reviewer above is a profile named Preethy sweety chicy which is one of Aravindakshan’s hidden profile to befriend female profiles, Rather sheepish act you say, I concur with you.

why he didn’t deactivate all of his profiles including Gullu’s is a question that is still unanswered and whether this hints at something about the Calvino's book is a matter of serious discussion among this review readers.

 

 

Originally posted at my blog: https://diffusedmode.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/book-review-if-on-a-winters-night-a-traveler/

 

                             

 

Source: diffusedmode.wordpress.com/2018/02/05/book-review-if-on-a-winters-night-a-traveler
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review 2017-08-29 14:20
A symphony of cities
Die unsichtbaren Städte - Italo Calvino,Heinz Riedt

Italo Calvino is always worth reading in my opinion and so is Invisible Cities. The minimalistic story which forms the framework consists of dialogues between Marco Polo and the Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan during which Marco Polo describes the various cities within the Khan’s kingdom. But by doing so, he is actually creating them, only to tear them down again soon afterwards.

 

Every city (there are 55 of them) is an allegorical image of a certain aspect of our own way of life and their consequences. The further the story goes, the darker and more cheerless the cities become. Elegance, gracefulness, symmetry and even sublimity make way for endless mountains of garbage, violence and ruthlessness, up to the point when people are unable to determine whether they are still living or already dead, because the dead seem to be more alive than the living.

 

Oddly enough, Inivisible Cities is also about the impossibility of describing any city, because no description can ever be like the actual city, maybe in the end all the cities are just like Venice and basically the same anyway.


Invisible Cities was definitely an unexpected, experimental read, even quite confusing at the beginning, but it got better and better. Even though you get descriptions of 55 different cities in 200 pages and it is impossible to distinguish them all, there are a lot of beautiful metaphorical images which I think will stick with me for a long time.

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text 2017-08-07 11:30
7th August 2017
The Baron in the Trees - Italo Calvino,Archibald Colquhoun

Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness. 

 

Italo Calvino

 

August 7, 1957: On this day, Italo Calvino published his letter of resignation from the Italian Communist Party. He never joined another political party, but he did write a fantasy novel, The Baron in the Trees, about political disillusionment. 

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review 2017-01-09 23:44
Typical Calvino, but not his best...
Οι δύσκολοι έρωτες - Ανταίος Χρυσοστομί... Οι δύσκολοι έρωτες - Ανταίος Χρυσοστομίδης,Italo Calvino

3.5 / 5

A typical Calvino book, characterized by his excellent descriptive style and unique eye for all those cultural and behavioral details that make his writing so unique. Most of the stories are very interesting and varied. There are some that were not such big hits with me but I feel that they don't affect the whole quality of the book negatively in any way. In short, if you're a fan of Calvino then this is another must-read. If not, you might still find it very interesting and easy to read. Recommended!

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