This book is good, but several times he makes reference to an attachment with photos etc. from the print copy of the book. I wish we could get that here as a download!!
I was so disappointed in this book. Its hard to believe that it was written by the same person as "Perdido Street Station" and "The Scar"! Those were both amazingly creative and imaginative books. This one really fell short.
The basic idea is that there are groups of people living right beside us who we don't see or we "un-see". Think, for example, of the homeless, or people of different colour or culture. Mr. Mieville takes this observation of human nature and tries to build a whole book around it about two different countries that live enmeshed together. They're not in different dimensions or anything like that, just that you're not allowed to look at the other guy. Maybe it would have worked for a short story, but the observation is too thin to support a whole book.
Too much of the book is taken up with describing the efforts of characters to "un-see" or "un-know" the other country. He seems to be so caught up in the the un-seeing that it seems to overwhelm the whole book and got very tiring.
The policing of this separation is "The Breach" which is a shadowing presence. There is some potential here, but he never really develops it. Everyone is terrified of Breach, but this fear seems to hang in the middle of nothing: unexplained and unbelievable. Breach turns out to be as unremarkable as the rest of the world he has created. Neither the history nor the rationale for the separation are explained.
The nominal plot is a murder mystery, but even there it falls short. The ending is abrupt and ultimately unfulfilling. Even the ending is consumed with descriptions of "un-seeing" and scandalously walking from one side of the street to the other side!
I finished the book, but I'm so very disappointed!! China Mieville was really one of my favorites, but I don't think I'll buy any more of his books.
This book has a lot of interesting and useful information, but really suffers from the decision of the authors to read it themselves. Their phrasing and intonation is so forced and non-conversational that at times I had to stop listening to it. I still haven't finished the book because it is so annoying. This is a pity because I do enjoy the content. Its a great conceit to assume that because you wrote a good book, that you are also the best person to read it aloud. A plea to authors: Please, please reconsider and hire a professional.
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