The City & The City Paperback – Apr 27 2010
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Amazon Best of the Month, June 2009: The city is Beszel, a rundown metropolis on the eastern edge of Europe. The other city is Ul Qoma, a modern Eastern European boomtown, despite being a bit of an international pariah. What the two cities share, and what they don't, is the deliciously evocative conundrum at the heart of China Mieville's The City and the City. Mieville is well known as a modern fantasist (and urbanist), but from book to book he's tried on different genres, and here he's fully hard-boiled, stripping down to a seen-it-all detective's voice that's wonderfully appropriate for this story of seen and unseen. His detective is Inspector Tyador Borlu, a cop in Beszel whose investigation of the murder of a young foreign woman takes him back and forth across the highly policed border to Ul Qoma to uncover a crime that threatens the delicate balance between the cities and, perhaps more so, Borlu's own dissolving sense of identity. In his tale of two cities, Mieville creates a world both fantastic and unsettlingly familiar, whose mysteries don't end with the solution of a murder. --Tom Nissley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Daring and disturbing . . . Miéville illuminates fundamental and unsettling questions about culture, governance and the shadowy differences that keep us apart.”—Walter Mosley, author of Devil in a Blue Dress
"Lots of books dabble in several genres but few manage to weld them together as seamlessly and as originally as The City and The City. In a tale set in a series of cities vertiginously layered in the same space, Miéville offers the detective novel re-envisioned through the prism of the fantastic. The result is a stunning piece of artistry that has both all the satisfactions of a good mystery and all the delight and wonder of the best fantasy.”—Brian Evenson, author of Last Days
“If Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler's love child were raised by Franz Kafka, the writing that emerged might resemble China Mieville's new novel, The City & the City." —Los Angeles Times
“China Mieville has made his name via award-winning, genre-bending titles such as King Rat, Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council. Now, in The City & the City, he sets out to bend yet another genre, that of the police procedural, and he succeeds brilliantly…. [An] extraordinary, wholly engaging read.” — St. Petersburg Times
“An eye-opening genre-buster. The names of Kafka and Orwell tend to be invoked too easily for anything a bit out of the ordinary, but in this case they are worthy comparisons.” — The Times, London
“Evoking such writers as Franz Kafka and Mikhail Bulgakov, Mr. Miéville asks readers to make conceptual leaps and not to simply take flights of fancy.”—Wall Street Journal
“An outstanding take on police procedurals…. Through this exaggerated metaphor of segregation, Miéville skillfully examines the illusions people embrace to preserve their preferred social realities.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
“An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans.”—Booklist, starred review
“This spectacularly, intricately paranoid yarn is worth the effort.” — Kirkus, starred review
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
There is not question that Miéville's imagination is superb. The book and story remind me of other futuristic type movies like Blade Runner or Minority Report. It has the same intelligent design and innovations. It definitely could be made into a movie which would really bring to life the 2 cities. As a story though, I did feel that parts of the book were repetitious and laborious to get through, especially in the latter third of the book.
Overall, "The City and The City" is a good read for anyone who is into mysteries or Sci-Fi thrillers.
One thing I admire about China Mieville’s work is his invention of completely unique fantasy worlds, most of which owe more to the modern European urban landscape than the pseudo-medieval worlds of knights and dragons. He loves to write about cities in all their grit and glory and London is often his muse, especially those areas of the city neglected in other British fiction. I am amazed to be honest that there are still new places to be written about in this, fiction’s most written about city. The city setting of London is to the English language novel what Tokyo is to manga.
The City and the City is a bit of departure for Mieville as, instead of London, the setting recalls to mind Cold War Berlin when it was a city divided between East Germany and West Germany. There is also a flavor of the tiny Balkan city-state like Sarajevo in some of the descriptions and character names. The two city-states of Ul Quoma and Beszel seem to be two alternate version of the same space that overlap and “crosshatch” in places. I say “seem” to be because the relationship between the Beszel and Ul Quoma presented in the book is never fully made clear.Read more ›
Bes'el and Ul Qoma are... superimposed on each other. In the distant past they were one city--nobody remembers which one. Sometime during a hundred-year gap in the cities' historical record an event called The Cleavage occurred and two cities emerged. Some areas in the "grosstopical" or geographical landscape are in Bes'el and others are in Ul Qoma. Some "crosshatched" areas are in both cities and some of these areas are disputed territory claimed by both as their own. Citizens in each city must go about their business while ignoring the buildings and people in the other city that may be grosstopically close by. The simply unsee them.
Tyador Borlú is a police inspector in Bes'el tasked to investigate the murder of a young woman. The case becomes complicated when it becomes clear that she was murdered in Ul Qoma and left in his city to be discovered. The complications increase when Borlú is convinced that the murderer is also guilty of Breach--seeing both cities simultaneously and moving directly between them. He travels officially to Ul Qoma and begins working with their police force. If Breach has occurred, both cities will surrender jurisdiction to a powerful, shadowy enforcement agency known only as Breach. Their avitars make Breach offenders disappear, never to me mentioned again. When Breach becomes involved, things become even stranger.
China Miéville has done it again.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
terrible story purchased just for school but the service was excellentPublished 2 months ago by lorraine keates
I don't know how this could have been classified as Sci Fi, except that it's set in the future. It's a drab, run-of-the-mill "procedural", where we get the pleasure of... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Dave Daley
This is not science fiction or even fantasy; it is a murder mystery with a setting that, like all of the Mieville i have read to date, is so perfectly integrated with the prose... Read morePublished 19 months ago by NM
"The City & The City" is an unusual novel from China Miéville, one which as far as I can tell is rather unique in the fantasy environment in which it takes place. Read morePublished on July 16 2012 by Dave_42
Drawing upon concepts from string theory in physics as well as from science fiction, fantasy and crime thriller, China Mieville's "The City & The City" is yet another exceptional... Read morePublished on Jan. 17 2012 by John Kwok
". . . [M]any prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. Read morePublished on Feb. 1 2010 by Donald Mitchell