The City & the City

Miéville, China

Book - 2009
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The City & the City
Inspector Tyador Borlú must travel to Ul Qoma to search for answers in the murder of a woman found in the city of Besźel.

Publisher: New York : Del Rey/ Ballantine Books, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780345497512
Branch Call Number: SF MIEVILLE 2009
Characteristics: 312 p. ;,25 cm


From Library Staff

Simultaneously police procedural, science fiction parable, and political intervention, The City & The City is one of Mieville's more accessible and trenchant works.

Imagine two cities occupying the same space, with the citizens of one not allowed to "see" the others or the buildings, then add to the mix a murder mystery that crosses those borders.

From the critics

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Feb 10, 2015
  • NicLaBor rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I find it mesmerizing how the alternative reality in this book unfolds slowly for us readers while we follow the protagonist on his investigation. I'm intrigued how well the author has worked out the details and implications of his setting. Plus, the main figure is complex and believable. I greatly enjoyed this novel and would recommend it to every reader who likes having their mind twisted in Ray Bradbury fashion. Perk: the digital format has an interview with the author included.

Aug 29, 2014
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A dystopian crime novel set in a fictional Eastern Europe with a very gritty British sensibility. A murder case crosses over a divided city, so divided their inhabitants must not acknowledge each other, and all are watched by the secretive police unit known as Breach. I found myself wishing for a glossary but became engrossed in this world that perhaps isn’t so foreign considering the real histories of Berlin, Belfast, Jerusalem and other cities divided by conflict.

Apr 09, 2014
  • cbarr rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the most original books I've read in a long time. I loved it!!

Nov 22, 2013
  • LaPhenixa rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

With a strong narrative voice reminiscent of traditional detective novels, the story instantly pulled me. The city Miéville built was truly interesting and unique, but I feel the book was lacking in description.

Oct 18, 2013
  • waltzingechidna rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An engrossing and somewhat difficult yet very gripping noir thriller that will, with a little effort at entering the double world of the novel, take the reader along for a fascinating ride. The surreality of the double city, when you really think about it, is only a slight exaggeration of real life--how many cities are really within the city you live in? How many people, how many events and even tragedies, do we simply fail to see?

Oct 01, 2013
  • JCS3F rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The first half of 'The City & The City' reads like a thriller without any thrills, the most redeeming aspect of which is the realistic (stereotypical?) depiction of an overlapping eastern Europe with simmering cultural tensions on every street corner. The premise of an overlapping or 'cross-hatched' city-within-a-city is mildly engaging concept that seems to develop into nothing more than a footnote. The real driver, commercialism and ego, is pedestrian by comparison and, after the fact, the reader is left half wishing that the red herring was actually the central plot device. That said, as the tempo accelerates late, the reader is left pleasantly disoriented as he struggles to keep up. Borders are blurred. Menace in one form evaporates only to reappear in another guise. Miéville conducts a cacophony of pure misdirection. But it comes like a sliver of cake after a full bowl of flavorless goulash.

Apr 08, 2013
  • drok77 rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

"Goodnight Moon" is more thought-provoking than this "story."

Dec 04, 2012
  • hmcgivney rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

A little slow going for me because I don't normally read mystery books and this one seemed to want to be the book version of a Law & Order episode (or so I imagine, I haven't seen one) with the twist of the dual cities. I really enjoyed all of the nuance of being in one city while unseeing something that may be right in front of your face. Or trying to drive while unseeing the car that zips in front of you. I liked the two cities conceit and while it's not really my kind of book, I did eventually get transported and caught up in the story, especially toward the end.

Jul 16, 2012
  • spiderfelt rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I couldn't bear to put this book down. In the first 100 pages, I was trying to sort out the world being described. Once I had a handle on the setting, then the story wouldn't let me go.

May 25, 2012
  • GManBruce rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Once again I have been floored by Mr. Miéville's creativity and verve! I am reminded of Anthony Burgess' work. There are scenes here that I will find difficult to ever forget although before reading them I would have thought I would have had an even more difficult time to even comprehend! Awesome!

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Oct 18, 2013
  • waltzingechidna rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

waltzingechidna thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Mar 21, 2011
  • bibliophage91 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.
Jan 09, 2010
  • dida rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

dida thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Mar 01, 2011
  • damnmagpie rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I as turned, I saw past the edges of the estate to the end of GunterStrasz, between the drity brick buildings.
Trash moved in the wind. It might be anywhere. An elderly woman was walking slowly away from me in a shambling sway. She turned her head and looked at me. I was struck by her motion, and I met her eyes. I wondered if she wanted to tell me something. In my glance I took in her clothes, her way of walking, of holding herself, and looking.
With a hard start, I realised that she was not on GunterStrasz at all, and that I should not have seen her.


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