BlueBlaze, January 21, 2012 (view all comments by BlueBlaze)
The City and the City is an alternate-universe fantasy novel, in the form of a police procedural. There are a lot of ways this ambitious, risky undertaking could have gone astray, but China Mieville pulled it off, I think, brilliantly pretty much all the way through. As a linguophile, I found the language issues integrated into the story, a common feature of Mieville's writing, an interesting bonus.
Ariel Valladares, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Ariel Valladares)
What an amazing book! The City & Tbe City showcases two cities, side by side and even sometimes overlapping, with citizens that very carefully do not see the citizens in the other city. China Mieville tells this so-much-more-than a murder mystery wonderfully. I've become a great fan of his work, and highly recommend this novel. Enjoy!
Heather Thayer, September 4, 2011 (view all comments by Heather Thayer)
I have read this book multiple times now and love it more each time. The first time the construct of "unseeing" was difficult to imagine, but then I realized that we do it all the time. We "unsee" those who are different or disturbing or unpleasant. We "unsee" the crazy lady shouting on the street corner, "unsee" the drunk in the gutter and the panhandler. How much of a step would it be to unsee an entire city?
Jonathan, August 11, 2009 (view all comments by Jonathan)
It's best if you read this without knowing much about the premise; Mieville has created an amazing world with its own rules and customs, and within this world a bizarre crime takes place. It takes a while before the realization sinks in, but once it does you're in for a heck of a ride.
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Del Rey Books -
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.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"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.)
by Booklist (starred review),
"An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans."
by St. Petersburg Times,
"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."
by Los Angeles 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."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Grimy, gritty reality occasionally spills over into unintelligible hypercomplexity, but this spectacularly, intricately paranoid yarn is worth the effort."
by Brian Evenson, author of Last Days,
"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."
by Walter Mosley, author of Devil in a Blue Dress,
"Daring and disturbing...Miéville illuminates fundamental and unsettling questions about culture, governance and the shadowy differences that keep us apart."
by The Onion AV Club,
"[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....[I]t's doubtful readers will mind the familiarity when offered an urban environment with this much depth. (Grade: A-)"
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.
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