Imaginary Cities

By Darran Anderson

Rating: 3 stars

This is a very difficult book to describe. The back cover calls it a work of “creative non-fiction”, which I guess is as good a place as any to start. It’s about cities that, by some definition, don’t exist. Whether that’s cities or buildings imagined by architects but never built; cities thought up by writers and poets; cities as they could or should be; or cities that have died.

The book is split into different sections, with short chapters within each section. To be honest, I found it difficult to pick up themes within the chapters, and even, at times, within the sections. Yes, you might get a section on utopia, and its evil twin dystopia, but then you get a section like ‘The Turk’ which just seems to flit from subject to subject without any unifying theme (although, of course, this may be more a failure of me than of the book). This makes it an odd read for me. It’s something to dip into every so often rather than something to read in large chunks with a unifying narrative running through it but I did find it somewhat unsatisfying. I’m not sure what it’s missing, but I do feel it’s missing something.

Still, I learned things about architecture and architects that I didn’t know. Now let’s see if any of it sticks.

Book details

ISBN: 9780992765590
Publisher: Influx Press
Year of publication: 2015

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