Incoming! is a feature at Ms. Bookish that chronicles new books that have arrived in the Ms. Bookish household. Here’s one of the latest new arrivals:
The City & The City, by China Miéville
When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.
Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own. This is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a shift in perception, a seeing of the unseen. His destination is Beszel’s equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the rich and vibrant city of Ul Qoma. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, and struggling with his own transition, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of rabid nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman’s secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them and those they care about more than their lives.
What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.
Casting shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, The City & the City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.
First paragraph: I could not see the street or much of the estate. We were enclosed by dirt-coloured blocks, from windows out of which leaned vested men and women with morning hair and mugs of drink, eating breakfast and watching us. This open ground between the buildings had once been sculpted. It pitched like a golf course – a child’s mimicking of geography. Maybe they had been going to wood it and put in a pond. There was a copse but the saplings were dead.
Where I got this book: Library
Why this book:
I actually came across this title in a roundabout, “it happened because of Twitter” way. Someone, I can’t remember who, but I think it was a book publisher, tweeted about this article about top science fiction/fantasy writers picks for best real fantasy/sci-fi cities, I clicked on the link in the tweet, liked China Miéville’s take on things (he chose London, England), then decided to check out The City & The City. It’s a speculative mystery, a genre I enjoy, especially when done well. I know this was a big release for fantasy fans, but I hadn’t heard of it since I don’t follow the genre that closely. I’m very glad that Twitter lead me to it.
Related Links and Other Fun Stuff
Interview with China Miéville (includes link to MP3 file)
The author talks about The City & The City:
Other Blogs’ Reviews