Review of 'The City & The City'

The City & The City by China Miéville

Tyador Borlú is an inspector for the Extreme Crime Squad in Beszel who is called to investigate the murder of a woman whose body was dumped in a skateboard park. It soon becomes apparent that the murderers passed over the border from Ul Qoman so he finds himself having to travel to Ul Qoman in search of the murderer. So far so average, right? Wrong. Ul Qoman and Beszel geographically occupy the same physical area with residents in one city “unseeing” the other. Those that cross from one city to the next without going through a border crossing are in Breach and are dealt with severely. The murdered woman was known for her strong feelings regarding the existence of yet another city, “Orciny”, and it appears that she may have upset the wrong people. Solving the case for Borlú will not be easy…

The central conceit of this novel, of course, is the main focus here with a lot of time spent by the reader trying to figure exactly what is going on and how things actually work in this extremely unusual setting. It is also this idea that plays a central role in the unraveling of the mystery.

Another head-scratcher from Miéville yet it draws the reader in as they attempt to make sense of it all. This patience is rewarded as the pace quickens towards the end (though a lot of time is spent, of course, in exposition). A lot of fun and worth the effort to read. If anything that is the only draw-back here - The effort. But, stick with it, it is worth it.

Amazing and innovative.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2013-08-02

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Pan

Publication Date: 2009

Other reviewed books by China Miéville: