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Perdido Str Station Discussion > Perdid Street Station SPOILERS

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message 1: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Hi people, for those who have already read through this work, you can discuss anything here that might upset those who have not read it yet and who hate seeing spoilers.

So, spoilers ahead!


message 2: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya | 378 comments This what has been unsettling me about Yagharek - how can I still love him as a character even though I know what he did to deserve his punishment?
On the other hand, I can't help but wonder whether Isaac was too harsh to Yagharek who has done so much for him, his friends, and New Crobuzon - or does Yagharek's past justify Isaac's decision?


message 3: by Traveller (last edited Oct 06, 2012 01:44PM) (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Nataliya wrote: "This what has been unsettling me about Yagharek - how can I still love him as a character even though I know what he did to deserve his punishment?
On the other hand, I can't help but wonder whethe..."


I think it is exactly that which made many people hate the PSS ending, but i loved the ending, absolutely loved it!

I loved that Yagharek FINALLY accepted his punishment, and I loved the horribly sad bittersweet scene with Isaac and poor, poor Lin.

That really pulled at my heartstrings and made me see Isaac in a much kinder light. I think it also indicates that Isaac had achieved a lot of character growth.

At the start, he was hiding Lin even when she was 'whole' and now he is much more open about his tenderness for her, broken as she is.

I think the fact that he must have contemplated the idea that Lin would have been violated during her torture, must have influenced his attitude to an extent, towards what Yagharek had done.


Puddin Pointy-Toes (jkingweb) | 201 comments Nataliya wrote: "This what has been unsettling me about Yagharek - how can I still love him as a character even though I know what he did to deserve his punishment?
On the other hand, I can't help but wonder whethe..."


What Yagharek did was horrible and inexcusable---and perhaps unforgivable. That said, his punishment was incredibly harsh; it's analogous to having one's legs chopped off at the knees, I suppose, and without anesthetic, if I recall. I can certainly understand having difficulty coming to terms with such a mutilation. Moreover, he proved himself to be brave and capable of great sacrifice during the course of the story, and as Traveller mentioned, he does in the end accept his punishment.

I think it speaks to the stength of the story that no clear-cut judgment is made. Isaac cannot forgive nor forget knowing what the other has done, but that's just Isaac---who is himself nowhere near a saint, and responsible (however unwittingly) for thousands of deaths at the hands of the slake-moths.

People come in all kinds, and while I too found it disturbing that Yagharek could do what he did, I wasn't really shocked, and my esteem of him was thereafter also mixed. It was, I think, the right sort of thing for the story---just one last example of moral ambiguity.


message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert Delikat (imedicineman) | 54 comments There is another book by CM titled The Scar by the husband and wife team Maryna and Serhiy Dyachenko. For me, it was one of the best stories I have ever read and one I cannot wait to reread to find out if it is as good as I thought. One of the central themes is that of forgiveness. While one of the outcomes in the book might have seemed predictable for some, others might have argued that it was just too unrealistic; one could not have forgiven another for the dastardly deed done. But that was precisely the magic of the story.


message 6: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Robert wrote: "There is another book by CM titled The Scar by the husband and wife team Maryna and Serhiy Dyachenko. For me, it was one of the best stories I have ever read and one I cannot wait to reread to find..."

Sounds interesting, Robert.. I'll look out for it. :)


message 7: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I've started rereading and have just met Lin. Im already upset :-(


message 8: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Andrea wrote: "I've started rereading and have just met Lin. Im already upset :-("

Ah. Maybe you should write down some comments and save them in a Notebook or Word page, and then we can have some venting sessions once we do the group discussion! :D


message 9: by Allen (new)

Allen (allenblair) | 227 comments Thinking about Isaac and Yagherek, in relation to their crimes ... Maybe it works so well because they balance each other out. Isaac's carelessness in his crime (letting the slake moths free or being unable to stop them or both) versus the garuda's deliberateness in committing the unthinkable. The book makes a slow buildup to that juxtaposition, and later forced me to examine what I originally liked and disliked about each in relation to their mistakes. In that sense, I liked the ending too - made me think no matter what a person's crime, the atonement is deeply personal, frightening and life-changing. Yet there is hope, regardless of how bitter the pill. And that's just one cerebral moment among many I had with this book. That's why I love it!


message 10: by Ruby (new)

Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance] (rubytombstone) Nataliya wrote: "This what has been unsettling me about Yagharek - how can I still love him as a character even though I know what he did to deserve his punishment?
On the other hand, I can't help but wonder whethe..."


That's what I like about it. The moral ambiguity. Gotta admit though, I tell myself that I don't know enough about his culture and the circumstances to judge, and that makes me feel better about it! That's probably a huge cop out but it works for me.


message 11: by Ruby (last edited Oct 29, 2012 03:58AM) (new)

Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance] (rubytombstone) Traveller wrote: "Nataliya wrote: "This what has been unsettling me about Yagharek - how can I still love him as a character even though I know what he did to deserve his punishment?
On the other hand, I can't help ..."


Oh yeah. Poor, poor Lin. I loved her character. It has been a while since I read this, but I'll never forget Lin. It felt so shocking that she was so irrevocably broken.

By the way, when I was writing my review , I found this fanpic of her that I thought was close to "perfect", in that it's the way I imagined her. When you consider that Mieville is always a little vague in the way he describes alien races, I was surprised by how well this fit my mental image:



message 12: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments I just always cannot help wondering how they'd kiss. (Lin & Isaac)

Hey guys, now i'm starting to be nervous that i'm starting to late with that group discussion, are you guys going to post there when everybody has caught up?


message 13: by Ruby (new)

Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance] (rubytombstone) If it helps, my advice to you as a moderator would be to not stress about trying to predict when people will be ready to start a discussion. It's not possible. There are too many variables, including allowing time for people to get hold of books etc. Some group discussions will end up being early, some will be late. It WILL happen. Just go with it. We'll move over there whenever you want us to. :)


message 14: by Ruby (new)

Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance] (rubytombstone) Also, I know several of us here have read it previously rather than reading it for the group!


message 15: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Yes, I know many of us have read it previously, but we've never all discussed it before. I tried to give enough warning for the discussion so that those who have not read it yet, would have enough time to purchase and read some of it before starting. :)

I know a lot of us are finding it hard to hold back, but i've belonged to a few groups where i couldn't get to their discussions in time because of other pressures in my life, and it's so frustrating to always be sitting at the tail-end of a discussion, and simply never have the time to catch up until everyone has said either said what there is to say or moved on.


message 16: by Traveller (last edited Nov 06, 2012 02:24PM) (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Friends, if you've already read the book before, and you're itching to say something that might spoil it for the PSS virgins, here is the perfect place to release the pressure of that something that just wants to be said!

I loved Andrea's comments in the reading section 1 thread, :


"- why the word Perdido?
1. I see in Spanish Perdido means lost. But CM is not a superficial sorta writer, with meanings immediately apparant.
2. It also hints of the word English Perdition which means a state of eternal punishments and damnation. Also utter destruction and ruin.
3. The original Latin root means destruction, ruin. My Latin is very rusty so I can't quite work out the verb form and it's not in my school Latin books (which I still have)...can someone help? I have a strong feeling its the first person here.
I really think the title is an important element. And my gut feeling is that the Latin root would be the underlying meaning. And the full interpretation might be in the verb form chosen."

"
http://latindictionary.wikidot.com/ve...

The closest is the perfect tense:Perdidi: which means I have wasted/destroyed.
or
Perdidero which is the future perfect tense: I will have wasted/destroyed."


Well, IIRC about when the little problem gets out of hand... (view spoiler)


message 17: by Andrea (last edited Nov 06, 2012 02:15PM) (new)

Andrea Thanks for this Trav. Now I can say the next thing I wanted to which is " who is the destroyer? And what is destroyed?"
Its a long time since I've read PSS but it's obviously more than just the Slake Moth destroying the city. Lin is destroyed. Isaacs complacency is destroyed. Yaghareks wings. His victim. There is heaps more. BUT who is ultimately responsible??? Who is the "I"? I'll be watching fir this on my reread.


message 18: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Mosca wrote: "China Mieville is a very political man; and a very educated lefty socialist aware of recent 20th century world history.

My reaction to the title is that it means "Lost Street Station" or "Forgotten Street Station" as in a place no one remembers or cares about.

During the 70's and 80's right-wing Dictatorships of South America, Argentina and Chile particularly, the fascist governments arrested and/or "disappeared" tens of thousands of students, labor activists, dissidents, and other "communists". After it became obvious that these people were gone forever, the people in the countries began to call these "disappeared" people "Los Perdidos" the lost.

To socialists and others on the left (like myself) the Spanish word "perdido" has a chilling implication.

P.S. I don't remember this word being discussed in the book at all; so I don't think this is a spoiler."


That is a very interesting comment about the meaning of the word for Spanish -speaking people, Mosca!

Why i wanted to discuss this issue further (and there is not problem with what you and Andrea said in the other thread being there), but what i wanted to add, is that for me what both of you said is very evocative of the sense of loss in this novel.

Not only the physical destruction caused by the moths and the battles that raged around that, but also in the sense of the personal losses that Isaac and Lin and also Yagharek, and even Dherkan sustained.. These people all end up having to cope with profound losses of one kind or another.

Now you have added yet another dimension, Mosca, because, of course, New Cruzobon is ruled by a police state and seems very close to totalitarianism.


message 19: by Mosca (new)

Mosca Thank you, Traveller, for the reassurance. Because spoilers are very touchy for me.

But here in the spoiler thread, I need to say that I am one of those readers deeply disturbed by the very dark hopelessness repeated through the novel, and especially the end and, especially Yagharek's fate.

Maybe I'm a wimp; but I so hoped for some sort of redemption. Maybe I'm a wimp.


message 20: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Andrea wrote: "Thanks for this Trav. Now I can say the next thing I wanted to which is " who is the destroyer? And what is destroyed?"
Its a long time since I've read PSS but it's obviously more than just the Sla..."


Yip! You could almost say to some extent "fate" like in a Greek tragedy... and partly hubris.. and perhaps someone like Motley was a bomb waiting to explode, and the government is a very negative force..

That's why i'm finding it wonderful to be able to discuss all of this with good friends like yourself, Andrea!


message 21: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (new)

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments Andrea wrote: "Thanks for this Trav. Now I can say the next thing I wanted to which is " who is the destroyer? And what is destroyed?"
Its a long time since I've read PSS but it's obviously more than just the Sla..."


I'm absolutely certain that Perdido has all, or very nearly all of Andrea's meanings. I've commented elsewhere about Miéville that he never uses words carelessly, and if Perdido might have all those connotations, he no doubt meant them all.

New Crobuzon (I misspelled that, glad to see someone else did, too!), of course, has been previously destroyed - or at least, it's built on the ruins of some previous civilization.

I'm sure it's significant that Perdido should be first person in Latin - I too will be watching for that in my reread.


message 22: by Andrea (new)

Andrea guys, this is so fabulous to share the reading experience like this, it's something i've missed my whole life!

Trav asked me on my review of PSS why I was so upset about Lin, and asked me to post here.
Trav, torture, suffering just get my in my gut and soul, I have much too empathy for my own good. Lin being broken hurt me to my core, to me it was worse than her dying. The irrevocability of it, and because it was purely for the sake of cruelty, upset and continues to upset me terribly. I almost wonder if CM designed the vulnerable beetlewings and described them as such right in the beginning so as to maximise the impact of her cruel mutilation. Well, it maximised it for me. There is only one other book I have ever read with a mutilation/torture of a character that has uspet me as much in my life. I cant remember the title properly, possibly Chung-ko, Chang-something, Chuang?? or ???, I threw it away, it was a sci-fi series about a future society based on a Chinese totalitarian society, the world was covered by huge white buildings - and it was torture of a woman by a person of great power.

Like I said in my review of PSS - I can't do torture.


message 23: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Oh, thanks, Andrea. I wasn't even sure if it was Lin you were referring to, because of course, that friend of Dherkan's also underwent torture at the hands of the secret police. To be quite honest, i found Mieville's description of how they treat those pigs pretty damn disgusting as well.

Other upsetting things for me would include how they sacrificed that poor guy to make Isaac's contraption work, and the whole story with Yagharek and what happened to him.

I even found the way that Isaac ended up upsetting- he seemed so broken after what had happened with his complicity in the moth story, his failure to help Yagharek, and of course, Lin.


message 24: by Scribble (last edited Nov 07, 2012 11:58PM) (new)

Scribble Orca (ScribbleOrca) Aha!

So that's where he's gone with Garuda society.

Would anarchy by any other name sound as sweet.

*a few pages later*

Oh god. I love it.

*mad cackle*

Chapter 7 the artist's names! Thighs Growing for a cellist wielding cactoid.


message 25: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Scribble! Get out of this thread until you have read the entire book! Damn, i don't want to have to cover comments in here with spoiler tags..- ok, hang on, I'm going to open the rest of the sections and open the discussion now- it is Thursday after all hang on, a mo...


message 26: by Scribble (last edited Nov 08, 2012 12:28AM) (new)

Scribble Orca (ScribbleOrca) No stress, Trav :) Spoilers tags not required for my benefit. But there was really nowhere to post impressions until you cracked the safe....but I promise I'll keep out of here from now on :P


message 27: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Mosca wrote: "Thank you, Traveller, for the reassurance. Because spoilers are very touchy for me.

But here in the spoiler thread, I need to say that I am one of those readers deeply disturbed by the very dark h..."


Sorry if i'd missed your post due to refresh timing, Mosca.

Yes, it is a pretty dark novel. The one point of light for me was that both Yagharek and Isaac's characters seemed to have grown somewhat. Yagharek became stronger and accepted his fate, and Isaac is not ashamed of Lin anymore - his priorities have changed and he seems a more compassionate person, seems like he has less hubris and more humility.


message 28: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (Korrick) If there was a fan club for the Weaver I would join it. Same goes for a cult. I'm not picky.


message 29: by Traveller (last edited Nov 15, 2012 03:54AM) (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Yes, the Weaver is very interesting. I would love to hear what Ian thinks of him-- i can't help thinking that Ian must approve of all that wordplay, he heh.

Oh, sorry- did you need me to open the section where the Weaver is introduced? Sorry Aubrey. Feeling a bit washed out today.
Next thread containing Weaver, coming up shortly.


message 30: by knig (new)

knig Isaac and Lin: I'm not sure Isaac is 'ashamed' of Lin. It felt to me like he is concerned about his professional image: almost as if though a public acknowledgement of a 'verboten' liaison might impact his career. In the end when he gives up his career, its no longer an issue.

On the issue of Yagharek: perhaps what annoys me a little is that in the very beginning when Yagharek comes to Isaac for help, Isaac is aware that Y has committed a crime, but chooses not dwell on it, e.g. he decides its not his problem, and that he's just going to get on with the task at hand, which is to create wings for him. I can look up a page number if necessary. So how then, and at which point, does Y's crime become so important to him? I mean, I would have known it had to be a serious crime if the punishment was wing 'casdtration'. Not only that, but Y does quite a bit to help I out in his quest to save Lin. And what thanks does he get?

Its a moral question, I understand. But. Y has 'served' for his crime. We all know what a 'spent conviction' is, right? You don't even need to list it on your job application, exactly for that same reason: to prevent vigilante self righteous judgement. Isaac can very well continue with the 'flight project' because its not even a moral issue, actually. When I think about it. I can never restore Y's wings. As to the rest: In as much as Y can 'fly' by boarding a plane or glider, the same principle applies: any conction I can come up with is a 'mechanical' replacement, it will never be the same as having those wings.


message 31: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments In case anyone wanted to comment on Lin/Isaac and the Weaver, that section is now open. http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...

:)


message 32: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya | 378 comments Knig-o-lass wrote: "Isaac and Lin: I'm not sure Isaac is 'ashamed' of Lin. It felt to me like he is concerned about his professional image: almost as if though a public acknowledgement of a 'verboten' liaison might im..."

Kinda going off your post there - Isaac's attitude reminds me of the whole idea of bringing a new significant one home. Most people don't blatantly go for the 'love him/her with all the imperfections and quirks' but try to have him/her put on the best face - to impress and (at least subconsciously) gain approval. The same reason why people from more conservative families, when bringing their SO home, if they still are dating, agree sometimes to sleep in separate rooms, maintaining the appearance of decorum even if everyone knows the real deal. That's how I think Isaac behaves - it's not that he is really tries to hide his relationship with Lin, it's that he needs the illusion that he's trying to do so because that's what expected in this world. He is a rather superficial creature for the majority of the book, and I think it's everything that he went through that made him realize the stupidity of the convention of the society he has a misfortune to belong to; it's not just his lack of concern for his job at that point in life but actually becoming a better person that we see here (I hope).

And speaking of Yagharek - it's what happened to Lin, I think, that makes Isaac so harsh in judging Yagharek. Having gone through the fear of losing Lin and thinking of what could have been done to it puts Yagharek's actions in a different light, and Isaac who's judging him is not the same jolly gregarious fellow we meet early in the book. He is a guy who had to face losses, and Yagharek's choice-stealing is now hitting home.


message 33: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Yes, i agree with Nataliya re Isaac's personal growth. I think that part of the point of the novel, are the various character's personal growth, and we see it pretty strongly with Isaac.


message 34: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (Korrick) Actually I just wanted to revel in posting in the spoilers section now that I'm done. But I'll make my way over to the new section now that it's there.


message 35: by Traveller (last edited Nov 15, 2012 09:34AM) (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Congrats Aubrey! Ok, i'll hurry up with trying to add more sections for you to post in. :P

..but there's a whole thread for you to rollick around in re the Weaver, now. ;)


message 36: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (new)

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments Knig-o-lass wrote: "Isaac and Lin: I'm not sure Isaac is 'ashamed' of Lin. It felt to me like he is concerned about his professional image"

That's just his excuse - he _has_ no "professional image". As a scientist, he's a complete outcast. As he admits himself, he's a dilletante, and a dabbler.


message 37: by Nataliya (new)

Nataliya | 378 comments He is concerned about what others would say - just the very common fear of the judgment of your peers which tends to drive quite a good chunk of social interactions.


message 38: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments I'm late to this party sorry
But yagharik story reminds me of the film crash.
Where the cop played by Matt Dillon is a total arsehole in one bit
Then the hero in another.
I love that film
And this book!
to show that even good people can make evil decisions, and regret them for the rest of our lives and try to make amends, but ultimately can never fix what has been destroyed.
It is a unhappy ending for most, but life doesn't always turn out the way we want.


message 39: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (last edited Mar 28, 2014 10:19AM) (new)

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments No need to be sorry. We love to have people chime in on our discussions long after the group as a whole finishes. It gives us a chance to get excited all over again :-)

I don't know Crash, but you're right that Yag is a morally complicated character. Most of the characters are pretty straightforward (not to say simple, but we know who they are and what they'll do in most situations). Yag comes to Isaac as a victim, and Isaac immediately likes and pities him, and wants to help him (though, Isaac is too self-centred not to want to do that for his own ends, too). We have an idea that, while we might think the penalty is too severe for the crime, Yag did deserve punishment. Of course, we the readers are being misled, too. The words Yag uses to describe his crime are deliberately euphemistic. When we eventually find out how serious the crime was, some readers no doubt think he got off too lightly. And yet, he's the walking embodiment of the argument against capital punishment, that you can never repent when you're dead.


message 40: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments I really liked the ending, but then I tend to not like endings that are too happy, that are sort of "all's well that ends well".

Whether the ending is happy or sad, I like an ending that shows us that the characters have changed, and you certainly can say that about the ending of PSS, eh?

Thanks for posting, Deano, and I'm so glad that you liked the book.

There are actually 2 Crash movies that I know of, and I've only seen the older one. I must really get to see the more recent one.


message 41: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments If you get a chance check out crash.
It's just a bunch of story's about how life is.
I agree that Isaac is totally wrapped up in his own world and isn't any more of a hero figure. As he is quite happy to sacrifice the dying man to save everything.
I know it's a easy choice when wrote like that but Isaac doesn't come across as someone who would even worry that it was right or wrong.
That's not to say I don't like him
It just nice to see characters with serious flaws.
Gives more of a realistic feel.
Abercrombie's characters have this feel to them.
This is my first china book. I will defiantly be going on to another soon.
The city and the city has good reviews.


message 42: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments Yes the newer crash movie isn't about people crashing while having sex lol
It has lots of big stars and it really got across of how life can mess with you, no matter where you come from.


message 43: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (new)

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments Just don't go into The City & the City expecting anything like Perdido Street Station. In fact, don't go into most of his stories expecting anything like the last one! The Scar and Iron Council, of course, are actually sequels to PSS, so they are similar.

But I'll be leading King Rat as a group read, here, in a couple of weeks!


message 44: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments Ok I'll look out for king rat
Is the city and the city a blade runner style detective book?
And what genre is king rat?


message 45: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments The City & the City is perhaps in some ways like Blade Runner, but less of a Sci-fi feel, I'd say, eh Derek/other members? ..and more, in some ways, just 'weird'.


message 46: by Derek, Miéville fan-boi (last edited Mar 28, 2014 10:53AM) (new)

Derek (derek_broughton) | 761 comments I'd call The City & the City a fairly straightforward "noir" mystery, with political overtones, and a very weird twist. The noir feel is definitely like Blade Runner, but as Traveller says it's not very SF.

King Rat is urban fantasy, with similarities to Neverwhere.


message 47: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments I loved neverwhere
But am also up for a noir mystery


message 48: by Traveller (new)

Traveller (Moontravlr) | 1838 comments Well, we have discussed The City & The City, so if you do read it, it will be nice if you pop up in those threads as well. :)


message 49: by Deano (new)

Deano | 17 comments Will do thanks


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