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Kraken by China Mieville

Kraken (original 2010; edition 2010)

by China Mieville

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2,1631133,004 (3.64)200
Authors:China Mieville
Info:Del Rey Books (2010), Hardcover, 509 pages
Collections:Your library

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Kraken: An Anatomy by China Miéville (2010)


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English (112)  Czech (1)  All languages (113)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
When Mieville has crazy ideas, they are really out there. Fast-paced, enjoyable read. One of the most memorable villians of all times: Goss and Subby. ( )
  crosbyp | Nov 14, 2015 |
Mieville comes back to his KING RAT origins to explore the urban environment and the pockets in the periphery of existence where magic, and *something else*, dwell.
Gnerally, people never know what to expect from Mieville from one novel to the next (Look at CITY AND THE CITY, written at exactly the same time as KRAKEN); I'm used to Mieville being a chameleon of language and genre,& 60 pages in, his unique brand of strange-fucked-up-ness reared its head; after that it was just simply hang on for the ride.
Mieville has been obsessed with cities and how humans (or in the case of the Bas-Lag novels, sentients) interact with them. With KRAKEN, he goes all the way, filling the book with a dizzying, giddy number of cast-off concepts.
His narrative style is an odd London-urban rigmarole, a 21st century patois where colloquialisms take the stage in magical and cultish activities.
Being an avid occultism fan, Mieville certainly does his homework in keeping all the sects and cult-religious ideas in order, and the ones he invents slide perfectly in alongside.
For fans of psychogeography; fans of HAWKSMOOR by Peter Ackroyd & Iain Sinclair's books; for readers bitten by a bit of the wicked; for those not afraid to dive deep into a gritty, urban fevre-dream, all serious fantasy-cult scholarship, and healthy dose of winks-and-fuck-yous... ( )
  VladVerano | Oct 20, 2015 |
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 |
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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“The green waves break from my sides
As I roll up, forced by my season”

    —Hugh Cook, “The Kraken Wakes”
To Mark Bould
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Welcome to London
and an underground of cults,
cops, baddies and ... squid.

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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