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The City & The City by China Mieville
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The City & The City (original 2009; edition 2010)

by China Mieville

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,7782591,379 (3.97)1 / 541
Member:whiten06
Title:The City & The City
Authors:China Mieville
Info:Del Rey (2010), Trade Paperback, 312 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, 2009, Clarke, BSFA, Hugo, Locus, World Fantasy

Work details

The City & The City by China Miéville (2009)

  1. 130
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (grizzly.anderson, kaipakartik)
    grizzly.anderson: Both are police procedural mysteries set in slightly alternate worlds.
    kaipakartik: Both are detective tales in alternate settings
  2. 101
    Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (snarkhunt)
    snarkhunt: Calvino's book is a travelogue of impossible societies while China's book is a sweet little noir stuck in the middle of one.
  3. 70
    Anathem by Neal Stephenson (chmod007)
    chmod007: Both novels depict coexisting-but-dissociated societies — drastically foreign to the world we live in — but help us reflect on it.
  4. 71
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (ahstrick)
  5. 50
    Orsinian Tales by Ursula K. Le Guin (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Le Guin's Orsinia may have been an inspiration for Mieville's mythical Orciny in The City and the City.
  6. 50
    Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges (bertilak)
  7. 40
    Finch by Jeff VanderMeer (ShelfMonkey)
  8. 30
    Hav by Jan Morris (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Miéville's The City and the City acknowledges Jan Morris as an influence on his fractured cities novel, and Morris' travel book novel Hav (fictional trips to a fictional state) is the most likely reference.
  9. 30
    Un Lun Dun by China Miéville (heidialice)
    heidialice: May be an obvious recommendation, but these books cover a similar (very original) premise in very different ways. Un Lun Dun is for young teens, smaller in scope and message-heavy; The City & The City for adults, deals with complex themes and offers no easy answers. Both display Mieville's consummate skills and elegant humor.… (more)
  10. 20
    The Other City by Michal Ajvaz (bunnygirl)
    bunnygirl: Czech novel about an alternate Prague; not mentioned as one of the influences for this novel, but perhaps going on a bit of the same (disputed?) territory
  11. 20
    The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (Longshanks)
    Longshanks: Two books that expand the scope of detective fiction beyond the genre's traditional concerns and constraints, one existentially and one sociopolitically.
  12. 31
    Wave Without a Shore by C. J. Cherryh (reading_fox)
    reading_fox: Covers the same ground regarding visualising concepts.
  13. 20
    A Maze of Death by Philip K. Dick (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: Two tales of paranoia and murder set in very odd worlds that just get stranger....
  14. 10
    The Kindly Ones by Melissa Scott (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Similar themes of parallel societies.
  15. 10
    Embassytown by China Miéville (Anonymous user)
  16. 10
    Ways of Worldmaking by Nelson Goodman (sek_smith, sek_smith)
    sek_smith: Ways of World Making explains the cognitive processes that allow us to unsee and,thus, understand. The City & the City is a practical application of the concept, most rigorous and well weaved. Very entertaining fiction with plenty of meaning
    sek_smith: This is not a fiction book, but an essay on relativity applied to epistemology. For many interested in the psychological mechanisms at work in The city & the City, this is a good read.
  17. 10
    The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (ShelfMonkey)
  18. 10
    Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (Jannes)
    Jannes: Two noir-ish thrillers with (vaguely) supernatural themes. Centered around sort-of-contemporary, yet fantastical urban landscapes. Both are very unique, and feels alike even if there's not many superficial similarities. More to the point, they're both damn good reading.… (more)
  19. 00
    La Vie des Insectes by Viktor Pelevin (sek_smith)
  20. 00
    Shadow & Claw: The First Half of The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: In many of Wolfes works he writes like Mieville has in the first person of imagined lands, unlike Mieville his characters do not improbably stop to explain to themselves (and thus to the audience) what a term or reference means - the narrative provides enough information for the audience to figure it out themselves.… (more)

(see all 29 recommendations)

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English (251)  French (5)  Polish (1)  Spanish (1)  Romanian (1)  All languages (259)
Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
A fascinating look at how we can live in the same place and see things differently with a great detective story in this setting. ( )
  kale.dyer | Apr 21, 2016 |
I had actually forgotten the premise and genre of this book when I finally got my hands on my copy from the library. It starts off entirely as a detective story, and then the speculative fiction aspects start to wind their way in. I loved that there was no large info-dump about the setting or rules of this universe. Instead you figure out the premise slowly and naturally, as the characters come up against the limits and barriers of their existence. I much prefer this method and it is done well here. This does mean I spent parts of the beginning being rather confused, but the characters and the mystery plot are interesting enough and presented clearly enough that you can always follow them, even if the world and its rules seem entirely alien. ( )
  duchessjlh | Apr 14, 2016 |
...The City and the City is one of those novels that takes fantasy to a different level. It clearly fantastic yet impossible to categorize, it experiments with fusing genres, with language and with perspective. It nods to some of the great writers in mystery, fantasy and science fiction, as well as a main stream literature. You could probably do a thesis on everything that went into this novel. In the end I guess it is the way in which Miéville balances the influences, themes and plot that makes this novel stand out. He is ambitious in what he attempts and he pulls it off. That is a rare feat indeed. If you are up for something different and something challenging, The City and the City is a good place to start.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Mar 25, 2016 |
The City and the City is China Miéville's police procedural novel; it is crime noir with an added dimension. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad in Beszel is investigating the murder of a young woman. Solving the case means Borlú will need to carefully navigate between the city and the city.

The cities are the Eastern European cities Beszel and Ul Qoma. While they share the same physical location, they are separate entities. They have different governments, cultures, languages, and economies. Their citizens' have been trained from an early age to only see one city at a time by unseeing the other city. The citizens of one city are not allowed to react to or acknowledge the other city. Even though there are crosshatchings, places where both cites exist right by each other, there is only one legal access from one to the other, Copula Hall. To cross this mysterious division in any other place or way, is a serious infraction enforced by Breach. Breach is both a noun and a verb.

The City and the City is told as a first person narrative. There is a dream-like quality to the interstitiality, the between spaces, of the cities that enhances the noir tone of this procedural. It is very atmospheric. The dialogue is tight, closely following the typical police procedural novel. Apparently Miéville originally wanted to subtitle The City and the City, "The Last Inspector Borlu Mystery" but the publisher talked him out of it. I, however, like the implications of the subtitle.

And while it is a mystery novel, it also addresses the nature of taboos, segregation, modern urban disassociation and the lengths people will go to to preserve their preferred social realities. I would speculate that anyone could read The City and the City as a police procedural or a fantasy or both. It is the uniqueness of the setting, Miéville's genius as a writer, and the conclusion that pushed The City and the City to a top recommendation from me.
Very Highly Recommended; http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/


( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
The setting of this book is the star of The City & The City by China Miéville. Two cities appear to occupy the same physical space but are very separate in language, culture, and politics. Between them lies a border - a real, imagined, or perceived boundary that both sides work diligently to maintain. On the face of it, the book is a crime novel with its police investigations and procedures. Underneath is a weird, imaginative, and memorable fantasy world.

Read my complete review at: http://www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2016/03/the-city-city.html ( )
  njmom3 | Mar 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 251 (next | show all)
Subtly, almost casually, Miéville constructs a metaphor for modern life in which our habits of "unseeing" allow us to ignore that which does not directly affect our familiar lives. Yet he doesn't encourage us to understand his novel as a parable, rather as a police mystery dealing with extraordinary circumstances. The book is a fine, page-turning murder investigation in the tradition of Philip K Dick, gradually opening up to become something bigger and more significant than we originally suspected.
added by andyl | editThe Guardian, Michael Moorcock (May 30, 2009)
 
Readers should shed their preconceptions and treat themselves to a highly original and gripping experience.The City & The City is still Urban Fantasy, yes, but don't look for elves on motorcycles or spell-casting cops. China Miéville has done something very different, new, and — oh yeah — weird.
added by PhoenixTerran | editio9, Chris Hsiang (May 28, 2009)
 
The novel works best when Miéville trusts his storytelling instincts. I was immediately entranced by the premise of doppel cities and didn't need it explained at every turn.

At times, I appreciated the intellectual brilliance of "The City" more than I lost myself in it. Borlú seemed an archetype more than a fleshed-out character. That's OK. The real protagonists here are the mirror cities themselves, and the strange inner workings that make them, and their residents, tick.
 
Miéville’s achievement is at once remarkable and subtle. His overlapping cities take in an aspect of our own world—social conventions—wholesale. But by describing those conventions using conceptual tools borrowed from traditional “worldbuilding” fantasy, he heightens awareness of the unnoticed in our own lives. He doesn’t give us symbols. He gives us real life rendered with all the more clarity for its apparent weirdness.
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miéville, Chinaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mège, NathalieTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mäkelä, J. PekkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nati, MaurizioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Deep inside the town there open up, so to speak, double streets, doppelganger streets, mendacious and delusive streets."
   -- Bruno Schulz, The Cinnamon Shops and Other Stories
Dedication
In loving memory of my mother,
Claudia Lightfoot
First words
I could not see the street or much of the estate.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Haiku summary
Can cities really
co-exist in the same place?
Beware the frontier!
(ed.pendragon)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345497511, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, June 2009: The city is Beszel, a rundown metropolis on the eastern edge of Europe. The other city is Ul Qoma, a modern Eastern European boomtown, despite being a bit of an international pariah. What the two cities share, and what they don't, is the deliciously evocative conundrum at the heart of China Mieville's The City & The City. Mieville is well known as a modern fantasist (and urbanist), but from book to book he's tried on different genres, and here he's fully hard-boiled, stripping down to a seen-it-all detective's voice that's wonderfully appropriate for this story of seen and unseen. His detective is Inspector Tyador Borlu, a cop in Beszel whose investigation of the murder of a young foreign woman takes him back and forth across the highly policed border to Ul Qoma to uncover a crime that threatens the delicate balance between the cities and, perhaps more so, Borlu's own dissolving sense of identity. In his tale of two cities, Mieville creates a world both fantastic and unsettlingly familiar, whose mysteries don't end with the solution of a murder. --Tom Nissley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:38 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Inspector Tyador Borlu must travel to Ul Qoma to search for answers in the murder of a woman found in the city of Beszel.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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