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

by China Mieville

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2,3731292,641 (3.63)214
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 214 mentions

English (126)  Czech (1)  French (1)  All (128)
Showing 1-5 of 126 (next | show all)
Mieville takes an ingenious concept (two cities coexisting in the same physical space, separated by their citizens' mutual ignorance of the other) and weaves a compelling murder mystery around it. Unlike the Bas Lag books Mieville reins in his creativity for this one, keeping the central idea at once in the background and also informing every aspect of the plot. It's a pretty intriguing read for about two third of the length, but the last part descends into rather familiar crime/thriller territory with no real development of the central theme. Nonetheless, it's a nice fast paced read with some interesting things to say about urban life and the psychological effects it has on its denizens. ( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
Mieville takes an ingenious concept (two cities coexisting in the same physical space, separated by their citizens' mutual ignorance of the other) and weaves a compelling murder mystery around it. Unlike the Bas Lag books Mieville reins in his creativity for this one, keeping the central idea at once in the background and also informing every aspect of the plot. It's a pretty intriguing read for about two third of the length, but the last part descends into rather familiar crime/thriller territory with no real development of the central theme. Nonetheless, it's a nice fast paced read with some interesting things to say about urban life and the psychological effects it has on its denizens. ( )
  StuartNorth | Nov 19, 2016 |
Odd and engaging story of the theft of a preserved giant squid from the British Museum and the apocalypses that the theft sets off. All of the twisted brilliance you'd expect, with a healthy dash of the impish humor from UnLunDun. ( )
  Mrs_McGreevy | Nov 17, 2016 |
Finally! I picked this book up and put it down so many times I lost track. I've been having a terrible time concentrating lately, and I know people who thought this book was amazing, but I was happy to just get through it. So it didn't work for me, but I'm mostly chalking that up to my tired, cranky, stressed state of mind. ( )
  gayla.bassham | Nov 7, 2016 |
The book starts off strong and gets you immersed in a wickedly weird world. As per usual with any Mieville novel the language is convoluted, closed and beyond difficult to access. Especially if you're not familiar with every cultural reference that's obliquely and too casually used. Entire passages were completely unreadable even after re-reading them countless times.

This novel felt very similar to Weaveworld by Clive Barker and ironically suffers from the same narrative problem: halfway through, the amount of effort needed to parse every sentence is too much to keep following the plot. The plot at which point isn't going anywhere fast and the main protagonists are simply running around from one (not so shocking anymore) piece of weirdness to the next.

In the end it felt like a thick version of The Crying of Lot 49 where we're constantly asked by the author: oooh look at me write. ( )
  TheCriticalTimes | Aug 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 126 (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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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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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