Italo Calvino, I

CONTINUOUS CITIES • 2

IF ON ARRIVING at Trude I had not read the city’s name written in big letters, I would have thought I was landing at the same airport from which I had taken off. The suburbs they drove me through were no different from the others, with the same little greenish and yellowish houses. Following the same signs we swung around the same flower beds in the same squares. The downtown streets displayed goods, packages, signs that had not changed at all. This was the first time I had come to Trude, but I already knew the hotel where I happened to be lodged; I had already heard and spoken my dialogues with the buyers and sellers of hardware; I had ended other days identically, looking through the same goblets at the same swaying navels.

Why come to Trude? I asked myself. And I already wanted to leave.

“You can resume your flight whenever you like,” they said to me, “but you will arrive at another Trude, absolutely the same, detail by detail. The world is covered by a sole Trude which does not begin and does not end. Only the name of the airport changes.

— Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino

 

Irene is a name for a city in the distance, and if you approach, it changes. For those who pass it without entering, the city is one thing; it is another for those who are trapped by it and never leave. There is the city where you arrive for the first time; and there is another city which you leave never to return. Each deserves a different name; perhaps I have already spoken of Irene under other names; perhaps I have spoken only of Irene.

— Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino

 

I mean that from a pure and simple state of lack nothing can be born, nothing good and nothing bad, only other lacks including finally the lack of life, a condition notoriously neither good nor bad.

— Italo Calvino, t zero

 

But when you can do nothing because of the lack of an outside world, the only doing you can allow yourself with the scant means at your disposal is that special kind of doing that is saying.

— Italo Calvino, t zero

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