Review: the City & the City
The City & the City is without a doubt the coolest book that will be published this year. China Mieville has crafted an incredible police procedural unlike any other.
What sets it apart is his choice of setting. Mieville is far and away the best world builder writing today, just look at his creations for Perdido Street Station and the Scar. I sort of suspect his writing method is to dream up a setting and then work out a story that will properly take advantage of it.
This time he’s made up the neighboring, Balkan nations of Beszel and Ul Qoma. The two countries share a unique border (that sadly I can’t talk about for fear of spoilers) and a rivalry going back centuries. Mieville then uses the murder investigation at the center of this book to explore these two locales in an amazingly info-dump free way.
The end result is quite possibly Mieville’s best novel so far. I’m a huge fan of all his books, but in the past he has had a tendancy to let his big ideas drown out his stories a bit. That doesn’t happen here, in large part due to the structure imposed by telling a detective story this time out.
I could go on using glowing adjectives to recommend this book, but I think I’ll just leave it with READ THIS BOOK!