• by China Mieville
  • Narrated by Susan Duerden
  • 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war.
In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak. Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language.
When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.


What the Critics Say

"I cannot emphasize enough how terrific this novel is. It's definitely one of the best books I've read in the past year, perfectly balanced between escapism and otherworldly philosophizing.” (Io9.com)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

must hear to fully appreciate.

Embassytown is a very original and thought provoking story that truly needs the audio touch to be fully appreciated.
Set in an alien world in which humans and the indigenous species of evolved insects called Ariekei coexist; the story centers around language.
Few humans can speak the Ariekei language, those that can have been genetically altered and are called ambassadors.
For reasons that are explained the "ambassador" is always two separate people that share the single title.
Hearing the Ariekei language spoken, by the ambassador and the Ariekeis, is one of the main reasons the audio version of this story is needed to fully appreciate what China Mi??ville has created.
In my opinion most books are enhanced in the audio format but still can be enjoyed as a read; for this story audio is a must.
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- D

A bit of "work" but worth it...great narration too

I like this kind of sci-fi: re-write the rules and setting for what is possible, yet keep us "mere humans" engaged with the parallels to our own reality (politics, community, transcending barriers, etc.). This audible book was "work" for me...a few times I thought about canceling the book and taking a credit, but there was an underlying draw to the subject matter ("language") that permeated my waking hours and I'd check in for "just a bit more" and it would lead me further down the rabbit hole. You have to pay attention! I've heard China Mieville's books could be challenging, and now I know what that means. Near the beginning of the book, I actually downloaded a sample of the Kindle book and read it the old(new) fashioned way which rekindled (yup, pun) my interest in the audible book. Something about reading it slowed down my intake of info and I enjoyed lingering on the images and style of the writer. My son told me about it and I first suggested he read it, not listen...but the narrator is so darn good (I'm now a fan). I persevered and felt very much rewarded for my "efforts". Had to go back several times if, I were listening while driving, or other hands-busy-mind-free task, I didn't pay enough attention to the story. I loved the concept and the audible reward when "language" was referred to with dual sounds--first time I heard it, it game me mental goosebumps. Grand scope of a book that covers a basic problem: communication between sentient beings. Will rest my brain and perhaps check out some of China's other books.
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- Thomas

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-17-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio