The City & the City

The City & the City

Book - 2009
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Random House, Inc.
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. To investigate, Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel to its equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the vibrant city of Ul Qoma. But this is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a seeing of the unseen. With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of 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 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.

Baker & Taylor
Inspector Tyador Borlâu must travel to Ul Qoma to search for answers in the murder of a woman found in the city of Besâzel.

Publisher: New York : Del Rey Ballantine Books, 2009
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780345497529
Branch Call Number: SCIFI MIEVI...C
Characteristics: 312 pages ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: City and the city


From Library Staff

“The problem with most genre fantasy is that it's not nearly fantastic enough. It's escapist, but it can't escape.”
― China Miéville

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May 30, 2017

A very repetitive style of writing which obscures the plot and became a real pain in the ...neck for me.

May 07, 2017

I could not finish this book as I was unable to suspend my disbelief.
My fault. Apologies to Mr. Mieville.

SFPL_danielay Jul 18, 2016

A truly fascinating mystery/sci-fi by China Mieville. Two cities, Beszel and Ul Qoma, share a space, sometimes overlapping, but separated through conscious "unseeing" of the other city. Violation of this situation is held in check by the mysterious agency of Breach. When a young woman is found murdered in one city, it quickly pushes the investigator to the limits of what is possible to see and therefore to investigate.

tritonesub May 20, 2016

This is my third China Miéville book, and every one was deeply satisfying. "The City & the City" may have been the most approachable of the three I've read so far (the other two being "Embassytown" and "This Census-Taker"), as it is, at the core, a murder-mystery. But the setting is so imaginative that it takes your breath away. It's a totally realistic alternative universe, one that the author has clearly researched well (makes me believe that he's actually lived there), and this reality makes it all the more powerful.

May 12, 2016

The story is written as a classic detective novel with two mysteries to solve: who murdered the student and is there "another power" controlling how events unfold in the city states. The book is well served by the author's command of language as he creates new words to describe the duo of authoritarian city states: crosshatching, unseeing, Breach, etc. I was fascinated by the world he created and wondered if it could operate in real life. We all go about our lives "unseeing" things we don't wish to deal with, but still co-existing with them, so perhaps yes!

Feb 10, 2015

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.

WVMLStaffPicks Aug 29, 2014

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.

cbarr Apr 09, 2014

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

Nov 22, 2013

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

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?

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Oct 18, 2013

waltzingechidna thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

Mar 21, 2011
Jan 09, 2010

dida thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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Mar 01, 2011

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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