Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Invisible Cities

The premise of this book is both poignant and cool: legendary figures Marco Polo and Kublai Khan discuss the wonders and familiarity of the world. Put this concept in the hands of the genius who wrote If On A Winter's Night A Traveler and you have a recipe for success. Or so I thought. With this boring, academic work Italo Calvino has been demoted from my list of "The Greats" to "The One Hit Wonders".

It has happened before and it will happen again. I read an incredible book and rush to get my hands on the author's other, sure to be excellent, writing. Kazantzaki's The Last Temptation of Christ can't kiss Zorba's feet and Eco's murderer in the Name of The Rose should have bloodied his dagger on Foucalt's Pendulum.

Calvino's Traveler manages to use unconventional storytelling to play with the roles of author and reader. The end result is both thought-provoking and a great read.Invisible Cities is a repetitious demonstration of semiotics and epistemology. The attempt to recreate unusual story telling comes across gimmicky and the intellectual aspect is far less playful and far more boring. Read his other, better work if you are interested in this author.

NEWS: This is the last book review blog for the next couple of years. I have gone back to school and my days of pleasure reading are done. For the real eggheads I will post my essays under my new blog "Rodney Dangerfield and Me."