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The City & The City

A book by China Mieville

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Too Much Like Contemporary Art...

  • Feb 24, 2010
  • by
...it's difficult for me to understand the motive and, therefore, difficult for me to appreciate.

I started this book months ago and put it down over a dozen times in favor of other books with more interesting plots, characters or meaningful (to me) writing.

I picked the book up again recently and read another 30-odd pages till I reached the halfway point...I thought maybe it was me, but in the end I decided it was not.

It's not that the story stinks or the characters are terribly boring, but Mieville busies himself with a kind of sociological-anthropological investigation and commentary of two coexisting or 'crosshatched' cities that can't 'see' each other. This bizarre existence is routinely explored, often at the cost of being able to follow the tale.

In a portion from the book, the author captured my EXACT feeling: "I read 'Between the City and the City' for a while, but stalled. The combination of textual and historic minutiae and tendentious therefores was wearing."

Oh, if only he took a clue from his character's insight.

I'm sure for some, this would make a fine read, but for this reader I was too bored with the tedium of these two cities.

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review by . May 04, 2009
China Mieville is one of the more clever writers in any genre. In The City and the City he as written a murder mystery, but one in a place like no other. The cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma reside in the same temporal space connected by crosshatches. And in-between is a shadowy nowhere, the Breach. The boundaries of the two cities are strictly enforced, mostly, so the citizens of each city have learned to "unsee" the other city to avoid entering the wrong temporal space that would put them in Breach. …
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Jarucia ()
   I'm currently a SAHM of a young son. I spend much of my free time writing everything from fantasy YA fiction to product reviews to writer's workshop feedback to articles for nonprofit … more
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Starred Review. Better known for New Weird fantasies (Perdido Street Station, etc.), bestseller Miéville offers an outstanding take on police procedurals with this barely speculative novel. Twin southern European cities Beszel and Ul Qoma coexist in the same physical location, separated by their citizens' determination to see only one city at a time. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad roams through the intertwined but separate cultures as he investigates the murder of Mahalia Geary, who believed that a third city, Orciny, hides in the blind spots between Beszel and Ul Qoma. As Mahalia's friends disappear and revolution brews, Tyador is forced to consider the idea that someone in unseen Orciny is manipulating the other cities. Through this exaggerated metaphor of segregation, Miéville skillfully examines the illusions people embrace to preserve their preferred social realities. (June) 
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ISBN-10: 0345497511
ISBN-13: 978-0345497512
Author: China Mieville
Publisher: Del Rey

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