The City & The City: Book summary and reviews of The City & The City by China Mieville

The City & The City

By China Mieville

The City & The City
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  • Published in USA  May 2009,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

New York Times bestselling author China Miéville delivers his most accomplished novel yet, an existential thriller set in a city unlike any other–real or imagined.

When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.

Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own. This is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a shift in perception, a seeing of the unseen. His destination is Beszel’s equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the rich and vibrant city of Ul Qoma. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, and struggling with his own transition, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of rabid nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them and those they care about more than their lives.

What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.

Casting shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, The City & the City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Through this exaggerated metaphor of segregation, Miéville skillfully examines the illusions people embrace to preserve their preferred social realities." - Publishers Weekly

"For all genre fiction collections because Miéville is a trailblazer with a dedicated following, but this work is more an existential thought piece than a reading pleasure." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. Grimy, gritty reality occasionally spills over into unintelligible hypercomplexity, but this spectacularly, intricately paranoid yarn is worth the effort." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans." - Booklist

"Long after the book's satisfying conclusion, astute readers will have much to ponder, such as the facility with which Authority can manipulate and repress a population and the attendant ills that life in such a society inevitably generate." - School Library Journal (Adult books for High School Students)

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Author Information

China Mieville Author Biography

Photo: Ceridwen

China Miéville lives and works in London. He is a three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council, and The City & the City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar). The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published in 2009 to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell (The Times) and Phillip K. Dick (<>The Guardian). The City & The City recently won the British Science Fiction Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and tied with Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl for the 2010 Hugo Award. It was also shortlisted for the Nebula.

Miéville explained his unusual first name in a 2003 interview:
"My parents were hippies, and the story is that...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to China Mieville's Website

Name Pronunciation
China Mieville: mee-AY-vill

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