Monday, May 16, 2011

Prongs 22nd Review - Invisible Cities

WE'RE BACK!!!!!!

Hey there Marauders!!! Been awhile hasn’t it? Padfoot and Prongs here, same as always ready to bring you the latest in greatest in all things literary. We have been on a brief hiatus while we are both finishing up school and preparing for the next phase in our literary lives. However we have both missed the blogosphere greatly and are beyond excited to be returning to our internet duties.

Before we get started with a brand new REVIEWWWW just a few housekeeping things to take care of .

First, tattoo Tuesdays will be resuming first thing tomorrow morning, so as always, if you have a literary tattoo you would like to share with us, please send us an e-mail with a photo and brief explanation.

Next, while we are poised and ready to take up blogging again, our load posts will still be slightly less frequent due to some major changing’s going on in the lives of P&P. Finishing up college, getting jobs… and most importantly drum roll please……

Padfoot and Prongs are moving… TO IRELAND!!!

That is right our loyal readers. The one way tickets have been bought, and Padfoot and Prongs take Euroland

is scheduled for Oct. 4th. We are anxious as can be to get across the pond to Dublin, Ireland and to a wealth of literary history. We will be starting up a second blog to update everyone on our adventures, so be on the lookout for that in the future.

Finally, we are happy to announce that we are for the first time accepting ARC of books, as well as previously published works for review. Since schoolwork will be gone in the next few weeks, we finally have time to devote to newer works and look forward to reading new authors. For more information on that, please visit the ‘About Us’ tab.

That about clears all the boring jazz up… now to the good part. Below is Prong’s 22nd review. Make sure to check out all the gorgeous quotes over in our quote section as well. Hope you all enjoy, and thanks for stopping by!!

Invisible Cities

Italo Calvino

"It is not the voice that commands the story; it is the ear."

I’m so glad that I picked what might possibly be the most difficult book I have ever reviewed as a way to ease myself back into the literary world. As far as ‘novel’ idea’s go… Italo Calvino has certainty left his imprint on the literary mold, combining the best elements of prose and freeverse in his work, Invisible Cities.

The story reads as a back-and-forth between the explorer Marco Polo and the great Mongol ruler Kubali Khan as the men sit discussing the many cities that make up the rulers empire. On his brief visits, Marco Polo describes to the great emperor the destinations that he has come across on his expeditions, with the brief descriptions making up the majority of the novel. As neither men speak the same language, it is possibly important to question exactly who’s account we are reading. Is it the exact depiction given by the romanticized Polo or just the mystifying translations understood by Khan. Either way, as the two great but divergent minds of their time sit in the gardens of a palace, the men seem to find a common ground in the beauty of the multitudes that can only exist in foreign lands.

At times I feel your voice is reaching me from far away, while I am prisoner of a gaudy and unreliable present, where all forms of human society have reached an extreme of their cycle and there is no imagining what new forms they may assume. And I hear, from your voice, the invisible reasons which make cities live, through which perhaps, once dead, they will come to life again.

In simplest terms, Invisible Cities is a story about cities. In the most complicated it’s still a story about cities. However, in the brief 165 pages, Calvino manages to make a story about cities unfold and develop into a complex blueprint for the potential of imagination. With each new city we develop a new passage or corridor of possibilities that before might have been unimaginable. I can only compare his writing to an M.C. Escher painting for the world as a whole, beautiful and bewildering.

Polo describes Valdra, built on a lake where when arriving you see two cities, and where nothing exists or happens in one Valdrada that the other Valdrada does not repeat in it’s reflection. He takes us through Andria, built so artfully that its every street follows a planet’s orbit, and the buildings and the places of community life repeat the order of the constellations.

With his seductive prose, Calvino manages to bring the reader back to a time before Google Maps and Tom Toms, when the mysteries of the world seemed so inexplicable yet tangible. I had to stop every so many pages to sit and attempt to draw out what I was imagining, and I highly suggest you all try the same.

While the cities described by Polo are what gives this read it’s grasp in reality, it is the representation of cities as elements of human nature that make me want to shake Calvino and say ‘HOW ARE YOU SODAMN GOOD?!’ It becomes clear after the first few chapters, we are not only getting the imagery of distant cities, but of human conditions that feel as close as your own hometown. The invisible cities could be your own town, your backyard, it could be yourself.

"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 longerpossess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places."

If you are looking for a short but highly impactful read, this book could not come more highly recommended. Read it. Then read it again. Then spend an afternoon doing nothing at all but imagining an Invisible Cities of your own. You might be surprised by how many you already know.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You solemnly swear you are up to no good...