Invisible cities

Our reading two weeks ago was on Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.

From the synopsis:

Dream-like story-telling at the twilight of an empire

In a garden sit the aged Kublai Khan and the young Marco Polo – Tartar emperor and Venetian traveler. Kublai Khan has sensed the end of his empire coming soon. Marco Polo diverts the emperor with tales of the cities he has seen in his travels around the empire: cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities. Soon it becomes clear that each of these fantastic places is really the same place.

In our sharing about the multi-faceted aspects of cities and our experiences of them, one thing we asked each other was which city, or cities, we’d lived in, and which cities we wanted to live in for long periods of time – or possibly for the rest of our lives.

Four cities come to mind for me, but I only spoke of three of them that day – Auckland, Singapore and Bangkok. All three carry interesting memories. One was where I found out about life. The other was where I was born and grew up. Yet another was where I discovered another side of life, and the potential for so much more. The fourth shall remain un-named for now.

Here’s something S wrote on her blog – her thoughts on the discussion:

So this time around, it was Invisible Cities. We shared a text that had characters Marco Polo and Kublai Khan bro-mancing each other about social dimensions in a city. RI-C talked about a new shopping centre in Orchard Road and how it made him feel disconnected from the building. Not that a building can behave like a human being, but the fact that it is new, raw and demanding attention makes it less interesting. RO-C talked about his overseas stint in Auckland [Editor’s note: she originally thought it was ‘Oakland’] and Bangkok, the differences of it and how he eventually adjusted to Bangkok’s untamed streets. As for me, I couldn’t really figure out where I would choose to live but it would be awesome to explore South Asia for a bit. I’ve decided to pick up farming…somehow.

Right, well and good…although the farming bit is…interesting, to say the least 😉

Final thoughts?…There are still other cities, other vistas, to explore.

Posted by rodsjournal.

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