Jessi's Reviews > The City & the City

The City & the City by China Miéville
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Sep 10, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: dystopian, mystery
Read in December, 2010

First Line: "I could not see the street or much of the estate."

The City and the City was a classic noir mystery with a bit of a twist. The main character, Tyador Borlu is an inspector in the city of Bezel. He is old-school: serious, lonesome, sarcastic. His world is dramatically altered when he is assigned to the murder of a woman. What follows is an engaging mystery to track the murderer as it becomes apparent that the murder is not as cut and dry as it seems initially. The most interesting part, though, is the setting. In Borlu's world, his city is intricately intertwined with another - Ul Qoma. The two cities share physical space, including streets, parks, and even buildings. However, members in each of the cities are trained from birth to never acknowledge buildings, cars, or citizens of the other. To purposefully do so results in a visit from Breach - a secret organization that answers to no government and charged with holding the boundaries between Bezel and Ul Qoma. The murdered woman was murdered in Ul Qoma and dumped in Bezel and it is completely fascinating to first come to understand the etiquette of living in such a unique world and then follow Borlu as he crosses borders between them in search of the murderer. This was an excellent read, although a bit complex until you can begin to understand Borlu's world.

Tone: Bleak, Dark, Mysterious
Setting: Surreal, Fictional Cities, Urban
Characters: Lone Detective
Other Elements: Conspiracy Theories, Murder
Read Alikes: Philip Marlowe
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