Thursday, December 17, 2009
The City & The City - China Miéville
buy - author wiki
The Deal: At this point in time, due to an RSI, I can only type for 10 minutes at a time. What you see below is what is hammered out before the timer goes off- and nothing more.
I've always loved Miéville's world building, he has an exceptionally unfettered imagination and plunders from sources as yet still rich and ripe. It's rough, and raw, and loud. Brutal and unrepentant. Bewildering and awe-inspiring.
Generally, such vibrancy makes up for unbalanced plotting and prose. When reading his books, I generally get the impression that he is not in control of his writing. He's riding it, but that bronco isn't listening to him (and I say this having loved every single one of his books regardless).
When I finished this book, all I could think was, "Wow. He tamed that bull."
There's a precision in prose, plot, characterisation, a precision in everything that is new and exquisite. The relationship between the two cities is revealed slowly, the perfectly appropriate detail being fed to the reader at exactly the right moment in the only order there could be for the reader to have the world shift slowly beneath their feet without any sort of culture shock, no adjustment or suspension of disbelief kicking in. It was amazing to behold, something that's rare to encounter in any work of fiction.
I wasn't sure the climax would be equal to the mystery that swelled in the book and threatened to split the pages, or that the final denouement would be sufficient, and it almost wasn't, but it juuuuuuuust was. Just enough. Just enough for me to consider this the best thing Miéville has written to date.
Verdict: I'm going with the majority of talk and saying it's a damn fine book, this. Damn fine.