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Monday, May 2, 2011


Italo Calvino
I've done this a few times: start talking about a book before I finished it (Fever DreamAll the Pretty Horses, and Witch and Wizard come to mind).  This time, I needed a new book to take with me to my son's karate class (is it bad of me not to focus with more diligence and dedication?).  Last week I'd taken along a copy of Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, but the novel didn't exactly "click," so I'll save it for another day.  Today, on the other hand, I grabbed Calvino's Invisible Cities, and what a pleasant surprise the first 25 pages were (I hardly saw a kick or heard an ai-yah!)!  I'm not going to get too into it here (most basically: Marco Polo's talking to Kublai Kahn about the cities of the latter's kingdom, the former describing without verbal language, but gesticulation, pantomime, and artifacts, while the monarch understanding through them experiencing, certainly, something else entirely, which experience of dramatic and accepted miscommunication is actually very similar in concept to some of the cities remarkably described by Polo -- hugely post modern and delightfully poetic), but it is pointedly similar to Lightman's Einstein's Dreams, and so similar, in fact, that I cannot imagine (and I've made similar connections before, but never with any certainty; this, I feel, must be certain) Lightman not having gained inspiration from Calvino.  I am terribly excited to read the rest of this brief "novel" (author and book-critic monster, Gore Vidal, wasn't content classifying this book as a novel, nor work, meditation, or poem, but a "marvelous invention") and am breaking off here and now to get back to it.

Stay tuned.

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