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The City and the Cityby China Mieville
2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award Winner
2010 Hugo Award Winner
Mieville is back with a police procedural set in a pair of Eastern European cities that share a unique border. The City and the City explores personal and cultural identity, and schisms within both. Less fantasy than his previous books, but a fascinating not-quite-reality.
Synopses & Reviews
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 Borlu 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.
Borlu 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, Borlu 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.
"Better known for New Weird fantasies (Perdido Street Station, etc.), bestseller Miéville offers an outstanding take on police procedurals with this barely speculative novel. Twin southern European cities Beszel and Ul Qoma coexist in the same physical location, separated by their citizens' determination to see only one city at a time. Inspector Tyador Borl of the Extreme Crime Squad roams through the intertwined but separate cultures as he investigates the murder of Mahalia Geary, who believed that a third city, Orciny, hides in the blind spots between Beszel and Ul Qoma. As Mahalia's friends disappear and revolution brews, Tyador is forced to consider the idea that someone in unseen Orciny is manipulating the other cities. Through this exaggerated metaphor of segregation, Miéville skillfully examines the illusions people embrace to preserve their preferred social realities. " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans." Booklist (starred review)
"China Miéville has made his name via award-winning, genre-bending titles such as King Rat, Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and Iron Council. Now, in The City and the City, he sets out to bend yet another genre, that of the police procedural, and he succeeds brilliantly." St. Petersburg Times
"Like his previous work, The City is an unabashed love letter to the diversity, polyglot sprawl, complexities, contradictions, pitfalls, humanity and streetlife of the metropolis. It's also studded with Miéville's inventive vocabulary." Los Angeles Times
"Grimy, gritty reality occasionally spills over into unintelligible hypercomplexity, but this spectacularly, intricately paranoid yarn is worth the effort." Kirkus Reviews
"Lots of books dabble in several genres but few manage to weld them together as seamlessly and as originally as The City and The City. In a tale set in a series of cities vertiginously layered in the same space, Miéville offers the detective novel re-envisioned through the prism of the fantastic. The result is a stunning piece of artistry that has both all the satisfactions of a good mystery and all the delight and wonder of the best fantasy." Brian Evenson, author of Last Days
"Daring and disturbing...Miéville illuminates fundamental and unsettling questions about culture, governance and the shadowy differences that keep us apart." Walter Mosley, author of Devil in a Blue Dress
"[O]nce the story picks up speed, it rarely flags, and the seemingly dry prose is a perfect format for exposition about the novel's central conceit....
New York Times bestselling author China Miéville delivers his most accomplished novel yet, an existential thriller set in an enthralling city that is unlike any other — real or imagined.
When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Soon his work puts him and those he cares for in danger.
Borlu must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other. It is a journey as psychic as it is physical, a shift in perception, a seeing of the unseen, a journey to Beszel's equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the rich and vibrant city of Ul Qoma.
With 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.
About the Author
China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, winner of the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; Iron Council, winner of the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Looking for Jake, a collection of short stories; and Un Lun Dun, his New York Times bestselling book for younger readers. He lives and works in London.
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