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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author China Mieville delivers his most accomplished novel yet, an existential thriller set in a city unlike any other, real or imagined.

When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlof the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.

Borl must travel from the decaying Beszel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own. This is a border crossing like no other, a journey as psychic as it is physical, a shift in perception, a seeing of the unseen. His destination is Beszel's equal, rival, and intimate neighbor, the rich and vibrant city of Ul Qoma.

With Ul Qoman detective Qussim Dhatt, and struggling with his own transition, Borl is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of rabid nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring city, and unificationists who dream of dissolving the two into one. As the detectives uncover the dead woman's secrets, they begin to suspect a truth that could cost them and those they care about more than their lives.

What stands against them are murderous powers in Beszel and in Ul Qoma: and, most terrifying of all, that which lies between these two cities.

Casting shades of Kafka and Philip K. Dick, Raymond Chandler and 1984, The City & the City is a murder mystery taken to dazzling metaphysical and artistic heights.

©2009 China Mieville; (P)2009 Random House

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 2010

"Daring and disturbing...Miéville illuminates fundamental and unsettling questions about culture, governance and the shadowy differences that keep us apart." (Walter Mosley, author of Devil in a Blue Dress)
"An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans." (Booklist)
"Mr. Miéville's novels - seven so far - have been showered with prizes; three have won the Arthur C. Clarke award, given annually to the best science fiction novel published in Britain…. [H]e stands out from the crowd for the quality, mischievousness and erudition of his writing…. Among the many topics that bubble beneath the wild imagination at play are millennial anxiety, religious cults, the relationship between the citizen and the state and the role of fate and free will." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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  • Overall
  • Jorden
  • DrontenNetherlands
  • 05-27-10

Original detective story

When I put the book down (shut my ipod off) I was disappointed. Sure, I read a great detective book with all the plot changes, surprises and tension you would expect, but I guess I expected a different kind of book.

The City and the City has an original setting, that takes a while to understand. A nice change from the usual sci fi, fantasy books I've been reading lately. Character development was my biggest issue, we learn nothing about the main character's personal life, or about his colleagues' for that matter. It's like a stand alone episode of CSI. Also, I'm not a big fan of the narrator. Different characters can hardly be distinguished.

Though it's entertaining, the author could've done more with the great setting, two doppelganger cities, he put out there.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

best novel in years

Most intellectually stimulating novel that I've listened to in years. A unique premises, great plot, great characters. Very worthwhile.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

New Favorite

I listened to this book a number of times. At first, I wanted to understand the puzzle a bit better and later I listened for ambiance. The narrator does an exceptional job. I will be looking for books by China Mieville as well as John Lee narrations.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

excellent book & audible did the right thing

WoW!
When I purchased this book it cost me TWO credits BUT audible said that was an error and REFUNDED me a credit what a STAND UP THING TO DO!
Now about this book wow a great book a sci-fi police story! Hooks you from the start. Pay attention now, no falling asleep while listening.

6 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Disappointing but still fine

An interesting premise that just didn't bear the weight of a whole novel. The ending was a terrible let-down and the protagonist made an inexplicable decision at the end.

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  • AS
  • 09-29-17

Masterful Detective/Speculative

Wonderful genre-bender. Great detective story. Great political parable of a world almost like ours. And I’d listen to John Lee read the phone book. His smooth rendition is compulsively listenable.

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Remarkably original

This is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious and original detective novels I've read. Intellectually stimulating and thoroughly entertaining. Great narration too.

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High concept novel, fascinating philosophical expl

I'm not a fan of crime fiction, and the details of the resolution of the murder mystery dragged and for me interfered with what I felt was the real exploration, that being the walls and boundaries and limitations that we erect to hold ourselves back from Awakening and realization of the fullness of our own lives.

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  • Story

Enjoyable

Clever story, excellently narrated. I really enjoyed my time with this book. 3 words left.

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  • Story

How did this win a Hugo?

I have read almost every book that has won the Hugo and this book just deserve the award. It is okay for a book to intentionally confuse a reader if the book is still compelling. That isn't the case here. I didn't care about the story, I didn't care about the characters, I didn't care about the unique setting. All I wanted was for this book to end so I could get on to something else.