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Kraken by China Mieville
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Kraken (original 2010; edition 2010)

by China Mieville

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2,1061133,127 (3.65)194
Member:sf_addict
Title:Kraken
Authors:China Mieville
Info:Del Rey Books (2010), Hardcover, 509 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Kraken: An Anatomy by China Miéville (2010)

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» See also 194 mentions

English (112)  Czech (1)  All languages (113)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
The first approximately 70 pages of Kraken were building up to be a plausible and interesting mystery with a unique plot. Unfortunately, after turning another page, the whole book suddenly became utterly ridiculous. Despite complete lack of enjoyment with reading the book from that point, I managed to slog through another 200 pages of it, reaching about half-way before I gave up. Those 200 pages read like the unedited stream of consciousness rantings of someone on LSD. My reading time is worth more than that agony.

After looking at blurbs about Mieville's other books it appears supernatural aspects are common in his writing. It's too bad in the case of Kraken at least. In the hands of another writer, the basic plot of Kraken could have been a successful mystery thriller without any of the absurd supernatural charms, hexes, and other rot. The various fanatics of goofy religions could stay, because such people and organizations do exist. ( )
  Jack-in-the-Green | Jul 24, 2015 |
This book was extremely well written, full of clever allusions and challenging ideas. I had a hard time, however, with the David Lynch-esque strategy of "weirdness for weirdness' sake."

The protagonist seems to have a similar outlook, as marked by this passage:
"These revelations into a paradigm of recusant science, so the goddamn universe itself was up for grabs, were part of the most awesome shift in vision Billy had ever had. But the awe had been greatest when he had not understood at all. The more they were clarified, the more the kitsch of the norms disappointed him."

Well, at least I can say China Mieville is aware of his strengths and limitations. ( )
  librarianarpita | May 1, 2015 |
The profusion of inventive detail in this fantastical London tale makes it both fascinating and somewhat bewildering. ( )
  dazzyj | Mar 2, 2015 |
Kraken begins with a vanishing squid. Its disappearance is met by Billy Harrow with confusion and dismay, as the giant squid serves as the climax of his tour at London's Natural History Museum. For Billy, this disappearance marks the beginning of an absurd and epic journey into London's underground world of mystery, cults, and magic. This book is not an enormous departure from Mieville's other works (in that it still combines elements of scifi, fantasy, magic, and a surreal imagining of London), but you might not/probably will not like it if you're looking for the hard scifi and more serious tone of New Crobuzon. Instead, this reminded me quite a bit of Neil Gaiman in its tone, humor, and generally playful nature. If you need a break from heavy literature but still want something smart and entertaining, this is a great book to turn to. ( )
1 vote cattylj | Feb 28, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
Kraken utilises Miéville’s common setting of London, albeit a strange London. This otherness beside the familiar is a strand in his work evident from King Rat and Un Lun Dun through to THE CITY AND YTIC EHT.

This one started out as if it may have been written with a film or TV adaptation in mind - one with a potentially light-hearted take - but soon veers off down strange Miévillean byways which may be unfilmable. For these are the end times and cultists worshipping all manner of weird gods abound.

It begins with a kind of locked room mystery as a giant squid, Architeuthis, has been stolen - formalin, tank and all - from its stance in the Darwin Centre, a natural history museum where Billy Harrow is a curator. He helped to prepare the squid for show and is thought to hold the knowledge that might allow all those interested in its recovery to find it. The police fundamentalist and cult squad, the FSRC, is called in to help investigate the disappearance which becomes more involved when Billy discovers a body pickled (in too small a jar) in the museum’s basement. And these are merely the first strangenesses to be encountered in this book. We also have the consciousness of a man embedded within a tattoo, a tattoo which moves and speaks. Then there is the double act of Goss and Subby - two shapeshifting baddies from out of time (they shift other people’s shapes) - and weird sects, cults and mancers of all sorts.

Never short of incident and brimming with plot the novel is probably a bit too convoluted, with too many characters for its own good, and its one-damn-strange-thing-after-another-ness can verge on overkill. But this is an unashamed fantasy, a form to which I am antipathetic when it is taken to extremes; and Miéville is not one for restraint.

While Kraken sometimes skirts along the edge of comedy it never fully embraces it. There are too many killings and acts of violence for comedy to sit comfortably. I might have liked the novel better if it had. Its main fault is that it never manages to settle on which sort of book it is meant to be, straddling various narrative stools such as police procedural, one man against the odds, woman in search of the truth about her vanished lover, etc.
added by jackdeighton | editA Son Of The Rock, Jack Deighton (Jan 29, 2011)
 
Miéville has done what all great science-fiction has done—and great so-called literary fiction, when it gets around to it—provide a nuanced, highly imagined critique of the zeitgeist, dressed up in a crackerjack story.
 
""... "Kraken" is, no mistake, a literary work. The hint is in the subtitle, "An Anatomy," because Miéville is exploring the gap between the prosaic squid and the mythic Kraken, between the mundane ground of everyday life and the sacred. What precisely turns a fish into a god? What is the anatomy of a legend? And how do gods manifest themselves in our world?
...Miéville's best work since "Perdido Street Station."
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miéville, Chinaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Higurashi, MasamichiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valdez, Elisa LazoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
“The green waves break from my sides
As I roll up, forced by my season”

    —Hugh Cook, “The Kraken Wakes”
Dedication
To Mark Bould
Comrade-in-tentacles
First words
An everyday doomsayer in sandwich-board abruptly walked away from what over the last several days had been his pitch, by the gates of a museum.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Book description
Haiku summary
Welcome to London
and an underground of cults,
cops, baddies and ... squid.
(ed.pendragon)

No descriptions found.

Being chased by cults, a maniac, and the sorcerers of the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit, cephalopod specialist Billy Harrow inadvertently learns that he holds the key to finding a missing squid--a squid that just happens to be an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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