Thursday, October 22, 2009

The City and The City by China Mieville

New York Times bestselling author China Miéville delivers his most accomplished novel yet, an existential thriller set in a city unlike any other–real or imagined.

When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.

Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own. This is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a shift in perception, a seeing of the unseen. His destination is Beszel’s equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the rich and vibrant city of Ul Qoma. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, and struggling with his own transition, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of rabid nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them and those they care about more than their lives.

What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.

Casting shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, The City & the City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.
Quote from Random House Website

I was reviewing a book yesterday that came out in July. I read that book back in July and thought that was terrible. It gets worse, though! This book came out in May and I read it before it was even released. I am only reviewing it now! Isn't that terrible? It is safe to say that I am not going to be able to do this review justice, but I really like Mieville, so I figured I should at least make an attempt! This is only the second book I have read by him, but I have enjoyed him so far. I mean the above description compares him to Kafka, Philip K. Dick, and Raymond Chandler. I'd say that is saying something, but since I have yet to read any of those three I would have to take other people's word on it.

What I really liked about this book was it was different. I generally read a lot of fantasy and science-fiction, so I like it when an author has a fresh idea. This book might not be non-fiction and it might take place in an imaginary world, but you can see traces of our own world in the story that he is telling. I think that is why I liked it so much. It was unbelievable without being all that far-fetched. Make a few changes and it could be our own worlds fate. It's not a fast read by any means. It took me a while to get into it, but that happened with his previous book too. Once you get going with Mieville, though, you are sure to be captivated. He is quickly becoming one of my favourite fantasy/sci-fi authors! I really must take the time to read his other books.

Anyway, this was an enjoyable read. I am glad that I read it! I just wish I had reviewed it a bit more hastily so I could review it a bit better! My thanks, though, to Random House for sending me a copy!


  1. I'm not actually a huge fan of China Mieville. I'm not sure why but I didn't really love The Scar or Perdido Street Station. My husband has enjoyed him, though, so I might investigate this for him, especially considering you liked it and enjoyed his other work. =)

  2. This sounds great! I love thrillers and the fact that it's different gives this one bonus points.

  3. I loved Perdido Street Station and have added this new one to my TBR list.

  4. Wow, I always thought China Mieville was a woman... Oops! :-)

  5. I've never read any of his stuff, but the premises always sound so freaking good! This one is no different. I'll get 'round to 'em someday (famous last words).

  6. Meghan: I haven't read either of those books by him yet, so maybe my opinion will change when I read those...

    Bermudaonion: Being different is the best thing nowadays!

    Gavin: I really need to read Peridido Street Station! I hope you enjoy this one.

    Aarti: lol I have that problem a lot!

    Andi: haha, I know those words all too well!

  7. I've heard nothing but good things about this book, so it's nice to see you re-affirm that. :)

  8. My husband pointed this one out to me in the store one day and mentioned an interest in it. I promptly forgot until I read a review of it online somewhere. And suddenly I was interested too. We're waiting for the paperback version, but it's definitely on both our wish lists. I am glad you enjoyed this one, Kelly.


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