Synopses & Reviews
China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—with Embassytown
, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war.
In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak.
Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language.
When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.
"Miéville (Kraken) adds to the sparse canon of linguistic SF with this deeply detailed story of the ways an alien language might affect not only thought patterns but ways of life. Avice Benner Cho returns to her backwater colony home of Embassytown so her linguist husband, Scile, can study the almost empathic, in-the-present language of the planet's natives, the Hosts. When a Host learns to lie, the resulting massive cultural earthquake in Host society is compounded by two new Ambassadors whose voices have a profound physiological effect on the Hosts. Miéville's brilliant storytelling shines most when Avice works through problems and solutions that develop from the Hosts' unique and convoluted linguistic evolution, and many of the most intriguing characters are the Hosts themselves. The result is a world masterfully wrecked and rebuilt. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The stakes [are] driven high and almost anything can happen. The reader is primed for a memorable payoff, and Miéville more than delivers." San Francisco Chronicle
"If Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler's love child were raised by Franz Kafka, the writing that emerged might resemble...The City & The City." Los Angeles Times
"Compulsively readable...impossible to expunge from memory." The Washington Post Book World
"Compulsively readable . . . impossible to expunge from memory." The Washington Post Book World
"A fantastic setting for an unforgettable tale...memorable because of Miéville's vivid language [and] rich imagination." The Philadelphia Inquirer
"A masterwork...a story that pops with creativity." Wired
"Endlessly inventive...[a] hybrid of Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and The Phantom Tollbooth." Salon
About the Author
China Miéville is the author of several books, including Perdido Street Station, The City & The City, and Kraken. His works have won the Hugo, the British Science Fiction Award (twice), the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times) and the World Fantasy Award. He lives and works in London.