Brad's Reviews > The Scar

The Scar by China Miéville
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's review
Sep 29, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: novel, sciencefiction-fantasy
Recommended for: Amaha Kassa

As good as Perdido Street Station was, in The Scar, Miéville settles in to the world he created in PSS with an easy mastery and takes it up a notch. While the hand of Mervyn Peake rests heavily on PSS, in The Scar, Miéville's own voice is the one that is fully present. Set mostly on the water, The Scar (like PSS) also pays homage to Dickens--readers will notice the parallelism between the opening scenes of The Scar and Great Expectations--and while Dickens' waterfront scenes are some of the most memorable in literature, Miéville, it turns out, can hold his breath a lot longer and does so to great effect. The book imagines new polities and forms of governance, symbiotic asymmetries, and the radically divergent embodied ontologies of hybrids, cyborgs and non-human sentient life--the whole constituting a grotesque, heteroglossic pluralism that maintains the humanity of the characters, including many who are not human or only partially so. Miéville embarks on a kind of mental traveling that jolts the reader from the familiar, facilitating access to a decentered orientation in which alternative possibilities gain traction through palpable epistemologies of belief, sensory embodiment, positional asymmetry, and a babel of new tongues.

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