The Casual Optimist

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Darran Anderson on Imaginary Cities and Books as Maps

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Author Darran Anderson discusses his book Imaginary Cities with Rhys Tranter:

[M]y intention was to write something that isn’t self-contained; a book that somehow spills out of its pages and into the world… I wanted to send people out looking for Sant’Elia or Chernikhov or whoever. It would be as much a map as a book…

…We have a tendency to think of books as ends in themselves, which has always seemed somewhat ludicrous, even a bit arrogant to me; the assumption because you’ve read Isherwood’s Berlin novels, you’ve got the Weimar Republic sussed (I don’t mean that detrimentally to Isherwood, whose work I love, incidentally). It’s like that bucket list approach to experience, when you hear someone say they’ve ‘done’ Europe or Thailand. However great a book is, however ‘definitive’ it is on a subject, it strikes me as only a point of beginning or as temporarily conclusive, as time and perspectives are constantly changing. I’ve always had enough self-doubt to be resistant to definitive narratives so I wanted Imaginary Cities to be full of points of departure, contradictions and questions. That’s one of the things I loved about Calvino’s Invisible Cities, which the title is also a nod to. The sense of poetic incompleteness to it. The feeling that the story is continuing on somewhere beyond its pages.

Imaginary Cities, which is already available in the UK, will be published in the US by University of Chicago Press in April 2017.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you for sharing!
    Best,
    Rhys

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