In somewhat of a break from a tradition, we present 2006's first title: the first two chapters from Italo Calvino's acclaimed Invisible Cities, which actually does read as much if not more like a collection of short stories than a novel, as it is usually labeled. These pages introduce us to Calvino's complex conception of place and time as shaped by memory, interpreted by Marco Polo!
We have seen Calvino on these pages previously, and we are glad to have him back. Did you know he was the son of two botanists and the brother to a well-known geologist, and that he was born in Cuba? Of course, although he traveled around a great deal, he spent most of his life in Italy. There, he specialized in highly intellectualized works that explore the limits of fiction and the boundaries of science and philosophy. Most important of all was his love of language: "Everything can change, but not the language that we carry inside us, like a world more exclusive and final than one's mother's womb," he once said.
We have been keeping Michael Armstrong's recording in cold storage for some months until we were ready to revamp this site, so we are overjoyed to finally unthaw this offering and serve it to you. Michael Armstrong is a writer and educator who divides his time between England, Italy, and America, where he has worked with both graduate students of English and inner-city children. He is especially interested in understanding the nature of human creativity, so it is no suprise that he reveres Calvino. We thank his for his extreme generosity in taking time out of his busy shedule to read for us.