The City & the City

The City & the City

eBook - 2009
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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.
Publisher: New York : Del Rey/Ballantine Books, c2009
ISBN: 9780345515667
Alternative Title: City and the city


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Feb 23, 2019

Take two cities in Middle-Europe that exist side by side and even share streets and areas. Make them adversaries and competitiors. Compel them, upon dire consequences, to avoid intereacting, acknowledging, or even seeing each other. Introduce a crime that straddles both cities and a supranational shadow organization charged with enforcing the separation. You get a story that spends a lot of time explaining how people act and behave in this City within a City. Along the way the main character, an intuitive detective, must solve the murder while adhering to all the cockamamie rules and groups of players. It is a brilliant concept and Mieville manages to keep all the balls in the air most of the time. What is less brilliant are the voices of the characters -- they all too often "speak" like a twenty-something no matter their age or background. None are developed to the point where you can really engage with them and the story. Read for the intellectual challenge of the world Mieville crates which helps overlook the shortcomings of the writing and character realization.

Apr 04, 2018

I thought it would literally be the same same city but the way he describes it, it is not.

May 30, 2017

A very repetitive style of writing which obscures the plot and became a real pain in the ...neck for me.

May 07, 2017

I could not finish this book as I was unable to suspend my disbelief.
My fault. Apologies to Mr. Mieville.

SFPL_danielay Jul 18, 2016

A truly fascinating mystery/sci-fi by China Mieville. Two cities, Beszel and Ul Qoma, share a space, sometimes overlapping, but separated through conscious "unseeing" of the other city. Violation of this situation is held in check by the mysterious agency of Breach. When a young woman is found murdered in one city, it quickly pushes the investigator to the limits of what is possible to see and therefore to investigate.

tritonesub May 20, 2016

This is my third China Miéville book, and every one was deeply satisfying. "The City & the City" may have been the most approachable of the three I've read so far (the other two being "Embassytown" and "This Census-Taker"), as it is, at the core, a murder-mystery. But the setting is so imaginative that it takes your breath away. It's a totally realistic alternative universe, one that the author has clearly researched well (makes me believe that he's actually lived there), and this reality makes it all the more powerful.

May 12, 2016

The story is written as a classic detective novel with two mysteries to solve: who murdered the student and is there "another power" controlling how events unfold in the city states. The book is well served by the author's command of language as he creates new words to describe the duo of authoritarian city states: crosshatching, unseeing, Breach, etc. I was fascinated by the world he created and wondered if it could operate in real life. We all go about our lives "unseeing" things we don't wish to deal with, but still co-existing with them, so perhaps yes!

Feb 10, 2015

I find it mesmerizing how the alternative reality in this book unfolds slowly for us readers while we follow the protagonist on his investigation. I'm intrigued how well the author has worked out the details and implications of his setting. Plus, the main figure is complex and believable. I greatly enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to every reader who likes having their mind twisted in Ray Bradbury fashion. Perk: the digital format has an interview with the author included.

WVMLStaffPicks Aug 29, 2014

A dystopian crime novel set in a fictional Eastern Europe with a very gritty British sensibility. A murder case crosses over a divided city, so divided their inhabitants must not acknowledge each other, and all are watched by the secretive police unit known as Breach. I found myself wishing for a glossary but became engrossed in this world that perhaps isn’t so foreign considering the real histories of Berlin, Belfast, Jerusalem and other cities divided by conflict.

cbarr Apr 09, 2014

One of the most original books I've read in a long time. I loved it!!

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Oct 18, 2013

waltzingechidna thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Mar 21, 2011
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Mar 01, 2011

I as turned, I saw past the edges of the estate to the end of GunterStrasz, between the drity brick buildings.
Trash moved in the wind. It might be anywhere. An elderly woman was walking slowly away from me in a shambling sway. She turned her head and looked at me. I was struck by her motion, and I met her eyes. I wondered if she wanted to tell me something. In my glance I took in her clothes, her way of walking, of holding herself, and looking.
With a hard start, I realised that she was not on GunterStrasz at all, and that I should not have seen her.


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