Brendan's Reviews > Perdido Street Station

Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
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's review
Sep 25, 07

Simply extraordinary.

Let's get this out of the way: yes, Mieville likes to get his vocab on. But I don't think it's out of pretension or apprehension (I've seen both suggested in reviews on this site). Mieville's using the language to draw you in to a world that is like ours, but slightly different— a dark, morbid, fantastical dystopia that's something like the dirty lovechild of Edward Gorey, Jules Verne and Charles Dickens. It's a dirty, lowdown, steam-age-with-magic setting that is immediately recognizable and intricately defamiliarizing.

In short, it's exactly what so-called "speculative" fiction should be.

I don't want to spoil anything, and I'm finding it difficult to summarize this book without launching into a dissertation, so instead I'll just give you some advice:

Read this book. Read it now. View the language not as an obstacle, but as part of his world's fiber (not unlike Joss Whedon's use of Chinese in Firefly). It's a long, slow drink of whiskey served by a curmudgeonly idealist, and you'll be better for it.
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