Saturday, January 2, 2010

The City and the City

The City and the City by China Mieville disguises itself as a run of the mill detective novel.  It begins with the body of a murdered woman being found in the city of Bezel (which is located somewhere in Europe).  Inspector Tyador Borlu is assigned to the case.  As he investigates, he learns that there is something more to this woman's death and it is way bigger than he is.  Borlu's investigation is complicated by the fact that his city, Bezel, exists in the same space as another city, Ul Qoman. The cities crosshatch one another and the citizens of each city "unsee" the other city. Borlu's murder crosses the boundaries of both cities and puts him at odds with unificationists, nationalists, and the ominous Breach.

This book was my first experience with China Mieville although it looks like he has won a number of awards. He tells this story that at it's heart is a detective novel but it has elements of science fiction but doesn't quite cross-over to full fledged science fiction. All in all, it's impossible to put the story in any type of genre which is good.  That makes it unique. This is a short review because I don't know how to describe the book except to say that it was good and worth your time.


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