Book Six: The City & The City

The City & The City, China Miéville

This is, what, maybe my third or fourth science fiction/fantasy novel? All of them have been pure gold, and yet I still persist in saying that I'm not at all interested in the genre. What is wrong with me?

Okay, so you can read this novel as a crazy fantasy or as utter realism. Premise: there is a murder in the city of Beszel and detective Borlu has to travel to neighboring city Ul Qoma to help solve the crime. Sure, it's a detective novel at heart, but I think the real mystery is figuring out what the deal is with these two cities. They are next to each other, and yet they overlap in places. Residents must "unsee" the foreigners who appear to walk the same streets or risk Breach (both an entity and a crime). The strangeness is immediately felt through Miéville's awkward language. Every sentence is technically grammatically correct and yet constructed in such a way as to make you need to go back frequently to re-read them just to make sure you understood. Or maybe that's me. But I do stand by the fact that this book very successfully grounds itself in realism enough to convince you of its weirdness.

I look forward to reading more Miéville in the future!


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