The City and the City by China Miéville
Read September 12, 2013 – September 20, 2013
Premise: Two cities co-exist in the same geographic space—to the point of adjacent buildings being in different cities—only separated by the culture of each and the compliance of the citizens to maintain the boundaries. A detective in one city investigates the murder of a young woman from the other city whose body, somehow, has made it across the border.
Verdict: This book was amazingly evocative while still staying true to its appropriated genre style—by which I mean, the sparse language of the crime/cop novel was used very well to describe the setup of the cities in question (which I myself have failed to do five times now when trying to explain this book to people.) Sometimes I would look up from the page and have to readjust to the world not being the way it was in the novel. I found the climax itself a bit confused and muddled but I guess, in the end, it all came out rather nicely (if slightly predictable—which isn’t a strike against it by any means.) I had some plot hole complaints while reading it, but once I was finished it all shook out well enough that I don’t feel like complaining anymore.
Definitely recommend—especially if you want to give yourself a little trippy break from the real world.
NOTE This book tied for the 2010 Hugo Award with The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi.