Excerpt 8

The Great Khan has dreamed of a city; he describes it to Marco Polo: “The harbour faces north …”
“ Set out, explore every coast, and seek this city,” the Khan says to Marco, “then come back and tell me if my dream corresponds to reality.”
“ Forgive me, my lord, there is no doubt that sooner or later I shall set sail from that dock” Marco says, “but I shall not come back to tell you about it. Th city exists and it has a simple secret: it knows only departures, not returns.”

Thin Cities . 4

The city of Sophronia is made up of two half-cities. In one there is the great roller coaster with its steep humps, the carousel with its chain spokes, the Ferris wheel of spinning cages, the death ride with crouching motorcyclists, the big top with the clump of trapezes hanging in the middle. The other half-city is of stone and marble and cement, with the bank, the factories , the palaces, the slaughterhouse, the school, and all the rest. One of the half-cities is permanent, the other is temporary, and when the period of its sojourn is over, they uproot it, dismantle it, and take it off, transplanting it to the vacant lots of another half city.

And so every year the day comes when the work-men remove the marble pediments, lower the stone walls, the cement pylons, take down the Ministry, the monument, the docks, the petroleum refinery, the hospital, load them on trailers, to follow from stand to stand their annual itinerary. Here remains the half-Sophronia of the shooting-galleries and the carousels, the shout suspended from the cart of the headlong roller coaster, and it begins to count the months, the days it must wait before the caravan returns and a complete life can begin again.

Chapter 4.2 - p63

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License