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Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas

Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas
Author: Rebecca Solnit
ISBN 13: 9780520262508
ISBN 10: 520262506
Edition: 1st
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2010-11-29
Format: Paperback
Pages: 166
List Price: $29.95

"At last a field book with the sense of San Francisco—the non sense, the real sense, the mysteries of the microclimates, gays and butterflies, gangs, boulevards and mysterious alleys. All here!"—Michael McClure

"Downright near infinite, at any rate, the good fortune of a city blessed with such antic chroniclers as Rebecca Solnit, First Citizen of the Imagination, and her entire splendid crew. There's one map missing, though, from this marvelous little volume: the MRI of any reader lucky enough to wander into its myriad graven precincts—synapses firing, dendrites scintillating away, a whole mad happy carnival of fresh neuronal associations."—Lawrence Weschler, author of Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences

"Solnit's writing is born of intense reverie and deep reading, passionate inquiry and political defiance; she is a lyric questor for the texture of everyday life, and she attends to places and to their variety and particularity with an exhilarating form of attention that illuminates and transforms her subjects.
Infinite City
is a marvellous atlas, a new approach to history-making and storytelling; it's also a highly original praise song to many San Franciscos, a multi-layered and polyphonic testament, alert to the play of detail and to the grand design, to the shadows of memory that fall, the restless shifts in the urban scene and the vital energy of overlooked subjectivities."—Marina Warner

The Barnes & Noble Review

It's not often that an atlas can be described as experimental, or nostalgic, or poetic. Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, by Rebecca Solnit, deserves all those adjectives; but then, despite its subtitle, this is not a book you would take with you on a San Francisco road trip. The maps in this tall, slender volume, twenty-two in all, are meant not as guides but as provocations. They are designed to make the reader think anew about the city of San Francisco -- its history, natural habitat, economic function, political values -- and, by extension, about the way we all imagine the places we live in. "A city," Solnit writes in her introduction, "is a particular kind of place, perhaps best described as many worlds in one place; it compounds many versions without reconciling them." Ordinary maps show only the physical infrastructure that these "many worlds" share -- streets, rivers, monuments. The maps in Infinite City, on the other hand, treat the physical city as a blank slate, on which many different experiences can be overwritten, like texts on a palimpsest.