Sunday, August 2, 2009

The City And The City China Mieville

The City and The City by China Mieville

This novel is almost a detective story, but it becomes something much more. The setting is in the city of Beszel and the city of Ul Qoma two fictional cities in Eastern Europe which share a common border. They almost seem real, but, if you read carefully they become more and more fantastic as you get deeper into the story.

Beszel and Ul Qoma are divided much like Berlin might be divided or Jerusalem. There are zones which cross into each city and areas which are in both.

This novel touches on how we choose to see the world and how it affects the way we perceive reality. Visitors perceive Ul Qoma and Beszel very differently from the native population.

There are hidden things which the main character, Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Extreme Crime Squad must uncover to solve a murder. His inspection is fascinating because it intersects with the politics, myths, legends, and conspiracies between the two cities. This makes it more than a typical mystery. It becomes an urban fantasy.

The setting is not usual at all. There are elements of Eastern European, Jewish, Russian, Muslim, and Turkish culture in the mix. There is also mention of Berlin and Jerusalem two other divided cities.

Sometimes, I had to put the book down and think about what I had just read. There were many instances of situations in the novel which I had never thought about at all.

I think this book will win awards. It is unique. Get it, read it, enjoy it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This book is on my list, Mieville is a fascinating writer, glad you enjoyed it, your post made me want to read it even more.
Congratulations on the award to!