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The City & The City Hardcover – May 26 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (May 26 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345497511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345497512
  • Product Dimensions: 24.8 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 590 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #235,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 that it borders on being tactile. It is an excellent story set in a world that the reader has to give some dedication to. My only complaint would be the companion pieces thrown in by the editors (book club questions and an interview with the author). I know. I know. I do not have to read them but, I am compelled to read them and i always, without exception, wish i had not. The interview does provide some interesting opinions about literature in general from Mieville and others may enjoy it.
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Format: Paperback
There is a long history of science fiction books that mimic some of the nuance of hard boiled/noir stories, starting as far back as Isaac Asimov’s Caves of Steel or perhaps farther. Both science fiction and detective fiction emerged mainly from pulp magazine roots in the U.S. and have to some extent maintained a closer connection to each other than the differences between the two genres might suggest. A mystery is always a good way to get some forward momentum in a plot. Also, a detective investigating a crime is a great way to introduce a strange society to a reader unversed in that world.

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.
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By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
It's not unheard-of to set a mystery against the backdrop of two closely-related cities. Many post-WWII espionage stories play out in East and West Berlin, for example. Cold war spy stories often switch between Washington and Moscow. The two cities in this book take this a step further.

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.
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By Dave_42 TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 16 2012
Format: Paperback
"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. I suppose that most people, if not all, at times become so focused on their own lives that they become less aware of other people who are right in front of us. Certainly people who live in areas where there are a lot of homeless people almost by necessity become blind to the daily condition. Now imagine two cities in different countries, but which use the same space, with the inhabitants of each having learned to ignore the inhabitants and buildings of the other.

Miéville puts together a clever and intriguing crime story in just that type of environment. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad in BesYel is assigned to investigate the murder of Mahalia Geary, a foreign student who is found dead in BesYel, but he soon learns that she was involved in events in Ul Qoma, the city which shares its space with BesYel. The investigation also leads to theories involving the theoretical third city, Orciny, which was thought to be legendary, but was hypothesized to be in areas between BesYel and Ul Qoma, i.e. the inhabitants of both have been taught to ignore those areas as being part of their twin city.

"The City & The City" was published on May 15th of 2009, and was nominated for as well as won some major awards. It won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the World Fantasy Award, the British Science Fiction Association Award, it also won the Red Tentacle (best novel) Kitschie award and tied for the Hugo Award. In addition it was nominated for the Nebula and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
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