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Invisible Cities is a perfect book, endlessly beautiful and thought-provoking. It can be read many times and you'll find new jewels in it every time.
I usually like John Lee, but he reads this book too quickly. It needed to be treated as poetry more than prose. Eventually I discovered that if I slowed the playback down to x0.75 speed my experience was much improved. It made Lee sound a little pompous, but at least he now seemed to be savouring every word. This is my advice to you!
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
Less a book than a series of prose-like poems, where language seems a magical tool that paints landscapes and cityscapes not confined by just what is known or possible. The words flow through your mind and spark the imagination, leading the listener on a guided imagery trip through worlds that seem suspended in another dimension and time. It is like a fabulous dessert -- it needs to be experienced, savored, and languished over. Originally published in 1972 with a cover that depicted a city of stone towers that rise from a large floating rock above an ocean; a picture that teased and hinted at what was inside (I still own my original dog-eared copy). There is no plot -- but plot seems irrelevant as you listen to Marco Polo conjure up cities that float between webs, joyous carnival cities, serious cities where no one makes eye contact or speaks, cities that you won't be returning to, "this is a city just for leaving," all to entertain the aging Kublai Khan. He creates his own cities that might dwell in his empire, asking Polo if he has seen these in his travels. You ponder the meaning of the words as they are used in this game between the two men, as well as the structure of the cities and their purpose. Reading this was wonderful; listening is another experience altogether. Close your eyes and experience a journey. Very short, just over 2 hours; something I will leave on my ipod and listen to again, like a beautiful and creative guided meditation.
29 of 33 people found this review helpful