The City & the City

China Miéville
The City & the City Cover

The City & the City


I read this book because it was going to be highlighted at Potlatch as the book of honor. I listened to it - it was read by a talented narrator - which I feel sometimes makes the words come out of the book whereas I've also heard poor narrators make a book more boring.

The book amazed me - it is a police thriller set in a strange alternative world where there is the rumor of a city within a city. When I read through the book and found the conclusion of the questions that were raised, I wasn't particularly impressed with the way the story worked itself out.

However, what I was impressed with was the detail and style of storytelling. The author is really gifted at spinning a tale and though I didn't find the ending particularly compelling or interesting - nor the conclusion of one of the greatest mysteries of the book that remarkable - I did very much enjoy the world the author created and the dynamics of the two city dwellers as they lived next to one another.

This in and of itself made the book enjoyable to read since it just brought to life the amazing ability of this author to create a world that is so unlike the world we live in now with verbs (like "unsee") that, after the initial wierdness of them, become slowly believable and then normalized.

I enjoyed it for the sheer genius of it. The world building - that is. The police drama, etc. wasn't my thing anyway so, predictably, I wasn't too interested in the outcome of the police investigation.