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The City & The City by China Mieville

The City & The City (original 2009; edition 2010)

by China Mieville

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,9212661,313 (3.97)1 / 548
Title:The City & The City
Authors:China Mieville
Info:Del Rey (2010), Trade Paperback, 312 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, 2009, Clarke, BSFA, Hugo, Locus, World Fantasy

Work details

The City & The City by China Miéville (2009)

  1. 150
    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. 91
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (ahstrick)
  4. 80
    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.
  5. 50
    Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges (bertilak)
  6. 51
    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.
  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
    Embassytown by China Miéville (Anonymous user)
  11. 20
    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)
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 31
    Wave Without a Shore by C. J. Cherryh (reading_fox)
    reading_fox: Covers the same ground regarding visualising concepts.
  15. 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....
  16. 10
    The Kindly Ones by Melissa Scott (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: Similar themes of parallel societies.
  17. 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.
  18. 10
    The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (ShelfMonkey)
  19. 10
    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)
  20. 10
    The Power by Naomi Alderman (charl08)
    charl08: Both books ask questions about what we take for granted in our everyday realtors..

(see all 30 recommendations)


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English (258)  French (5)  Polish (1)  Spanish (1)  Romanian (1)  All (266)
Showing 1-5 of 258 (next | show all)
This book is an intriguing police procedural with an insane sci fi/urban fantasy premise, and I mean that in a good way. Two cities occupy the same space and their respective citizens studiously ignore (unsee) each other. They don't even speak the same language. There is Breach, an elite force that punishes unauthorized travel between the cities or intentional contact between citizens. When the body of a murdered young woman is dumped in one of the cities, the police of both cities must cooperate to solve the crime. Oh, and there may also be a third city between the other two. This book was fascinating and very elegantly written. I would love to have a sequel to this. John Lee, the narrator of the audiobook, was very good. ( )
1 vote fhudnell | Nov 10, 2016 |
Despite the fact Tyador Borlu is investigating the murder of foreign student Mahalia Geary, the real main characters of The City and the City are the city and the city, Beszel and Ul Qoma. In order to wrap your brain around the plot you first need to understand the landscape. Each city shares essentially the same geographic space. Members of each city are trained to "ignore" the other and to perceive "their" city as different from that other one. Everything, from the clothes people wear to the architectural styles of the buildings, is seen as unique to the people within "their" city. Residents are taught to have different languages and mannerisms to further differentiate themselves; and to acknowledge the other city's existence or "see" it is worse than murder. Only Copula Hall exists in both cities and is in fact the gateway to travel from one city to another.
Murder victim Mahalia Geary was found mutilated in Borlu's city, Beszel, but after some investigation Tyador Borlu learned she had connections to that other city, Ul Qoma. And to complicate matters, she was researching a third city, Orciny. Was her investigation getting too close to the truth? Was she murdered because she was about to expose a completely different society with nefarious activities? ( )
  SeriousGrace | Nov 10, 2016 |
The City and The City is a gritty detective novel that takes place in two cities--the downtrodden eastern European city of Beszel, and the up-and-coming middle eastern city of Ul Qoma. The conceit is that these two cities actually exist in the same exact location--through some sort of unexplained past event, the two cities somehow divided, and now people can only access the other city through specific points where the cities are imperfectly stitched. Unauthorized travel between the cities is strictly prohibited, and even seeing the faded images of the other city's citizens where the cities overlap is forbidden, rules enforced by the mysterious and seemingly supernatural organization Breach. The story follows a Beszel detective named Borlu as he investigates a murder case that seemingly crosses city boundaries multiple times, but always in a such a way to avoid the scrutiny of Breach. While Borlu is trying to unravel the murder mystery in his competent and no-nonsense style, the reader is trying to unravel the mystery behind the co-located cities. And while there is still plenty of mystery at the end, it's certainly an engaging journey. ( )
  Phrim | Oct 21, 2016 |
I liked this better at the second time of reading ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
This is a good book don't get me wrong but somehow I feel I should like it more than I do.

My full review on my blog Thank the Maker: http://girlsguidetoscifi.blogspot.ca/2013/06/choose-wisely-review-of-city-city.h... ( )
  HollyBest | Jun 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 258 (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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"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
In loving memory of my mother,
Claudia Lightfoot
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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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Book description
Haiku summary
Can cities really
co-exist in the same place?
Beware the frontier!

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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