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The City & The City

This is China Mieville's latest, now out in paperback. Later this year he's got The Kraken coming so there are no flies on him. The City is Beszel, a place in Eastern Europe where our hero Borlu is a cop investigating a murder. Things get complicated because the City, Ul Qoma, shares the same space as the Beszel in a bizarre fashion. There are clever things going on here about vision and ethnicity wrapped around a murder story. It's all very good apart from the final denouement which comes somewhat out of left field and leaves you feeling a bit cheated really. It was leading up to an Oh, wow! and all I got was an oh, ok, which is a shame really because up until then it was all good.

I hadn't read any of his long fiction since Perdido Street Station which I felt had good stuff but was a bit laboured and contrived. I've enjoyed his short fiction, notably a few lovecraftian pieces and the style has improved much since the earlier effort but the plotting is still not quite there. Perhaps he's still trying a bit too hard to bring everything together when you don't always need to do so (see MJ Harrison for the opposite approach).

But it kept me busy on the train for a couple of days so I'd say read it.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 17th, 2010 09:52 am (UTC)
I like Mieville and recently read The City & The City. I enjoyed it; it wasn't his best work but it was interesting and a bit different to anything of his that I've read before. It was certainly worth the read. My favourites of his long fiction are still Perdido Street Station and its sequel The Scar though. (Iron Council was okay but nowhere near as good as the first two.) What I would suggest you check out if you haven't read it is his young adult novel Un Lun Dun, which I really enjoyed.
Feb. 17th, 2010 11:19 am (UTC)
Un Lun Dun sounds it could be like Undone, Ben Moor's radio series of parallel Londons.

I think I ought to try Looking for Jake because I really enjoyed his short story Details which was also published in an HPLish anthology.
Feb. 17th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
Mieville's O.K. But I think I want to read 'Kraken' first in which London appears. I like any fantasy fiction in which London appears. I didn't knowe that Mieville had also wrote
'Un Lun Dun' which also uses London.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )