Classic of the week: All the world

Invisible Cities
Italo Calvino, Vintage, £6.99
Nominally Marco Polo's descriptions of his travels to Kubla Khan, and with a few strange interleaved conversations to prove it, this beautiful one-off is less a novel than a field guide to nonexistent places. Each Invisible City bears a woman's name, and is described within perhaps two pages; each reveals an aspect of real cities. One is two places, depending whether you look up or down. Another is an inescapable network of chain shops linked by airports. You can read this in a long evening. And if, when you walk out the next day, the streets do not seem different, you weren't paying attention.