h, August 5, 2012 (view all comments by h)
Miéville's talents shine in this unexpected detective novel that is also a urban metaphysical mindbender. He leaves his regular genre of fantasy much to the side to explore a city divided, not literally but in citizens' consciousness of it. A great introduction to Miéville for those wary of fantasy.
Richard Alsen, January 31, 2011 (view all comments by Richard Alsen)
this was the best book i read in 2010. who could even conceive of such an outrageous premise, let alone execute it, with such panache as china mieville? his originality is astounding. the concept in this novel, it seems to me, is unfilmable. even christopher nolan would be hard-pressed to convey the idea visually. it lives in the prose; and that is rare indeed.
Slabby31, January 24, 2011 (view all comments by Slabby31)
Imagine living in Bristol, TN and you are unable to acknowledge the fact that Bristol, VA exists. You know that people are walking in the street by you, but if you "see" them, you get taken away never to be heard from again. Oh, don't forget your passport if you want to visit the other Bristol. Throw in a murder mystery and you have this book. This book is a page-turner extraordinaire.
Kevin Hogan, January 18, 2011 (view all comments by Kevin Hogan)
China Mieville has a tendency toward the baroque, but in The City & The City, he dials his style all the way back to sparse, and it works brilliantly. The story of a detective investigating a murder that takes place in one of two intertwined cities, it expands outward to encompass the history of the cities, and hints at the underlying secrets around and between them. And this is the genius of the novel, that although the plot progresses in a fairly straightforward fashion, the stories of the city & the city proceed in hints and interstices. The stylistic restraint suits Mr Mieville very well.
Manek, January 10, 2011 (view all comments by Manek)
This is the best book I read last year, and possibly in the last decade. China Mieville has created an incredible setting for what might otherwise be a very good mystery novel. The cities of the title are in two different countries, but they share the same geographical space. People in one city are not permitted to acknowledge or interact with people in the other city, even if they are standing next to each other. This setup creates mind-blowing jurisdictional issues for the protagonist, who is investigating a murder. Did the murder occur in his city? Or in the other city?
The characters are real and plot is interesting, but the book would be worth reading even if it were simply a dry explanation of how the cities function.
Highly recommended, even for those who aren't interested in fantasy or mystery fiction.
Del Rey Books -
by Walter Mosley, author of Devil in a Blue Dress,
“Daring and disturbing . . . Mieville illuminates fundamental and unsettling questions about culture, governance and the shadowy differences that keep us apart.”
by Los Angeles Times,
“If Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler's love child were raised by Franz Kafka, the writing that emerged might resemble China Mieville's new novel, The City and the City."
by St. Petersburg Times,
“China Mieville 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…. [An] extraordinary, wholly engaging read.”
by The Times, London,
“An eye-opening genre-buster. The names of Kafka and Orwell tend to be invoked too easily for anything a bit out of the ordinary, but in this case they are worthy comparisons.”
by Wall Street Journal,
“Evoking such writers as Franz Kafka and Mikhail Bulgakov, Mr. Mieville asks readers to make conceptual leaps and not to simply take flights of fancy.”
“An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans.” Booklist, (starred review)
New York Times-bestselling author Mieville delivers his most accomplished novel yet, an existential thriller set in a city unlike any other — real or imagined.
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