Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. from "Invisible Cities" In a garden sit the aged Kublai Khan and the young Marco Polo Mongol emperor and Venetian traveler. Kublai Khan has sensed the end of his empire coming soon. Marco Polo diverts his host with stories of the cities he has seen in his travels around the empire: cities and memory, cities and desire, cities and designs, cities and the dead, cities and the sky, trading cities, hidden cities. As Marco Polo unspools his tales, the emperor detects these fantastic places are more than they appear. "Invisible Cities" changed the way we read and what is possible in the balance between poetry and prose . . . The book I would choose as pillow and plate, alone on a desert island. Jeanette Winterson Italo Calvino (1923 1985) attained worldwide renown as one of the twentieth century s greatest storytellers. Born in Cuba, he was raised in San Remo, Italy, and later lived in Turin, Paris, Rome, and elsewhere. Among his many works are "If on a winter s night a traveler" and "The Baron in the Trees, " as well as numerous collections of fiction, folktales, criticism, and essays. His works have been translated into dozens of languages."