Embassytown

  • 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.

More

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)

More

See More Like This

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.
Read full review

- D "I read, I write; I listen"

There's Weird and then there's... just too much!

I tend not to write much about books I did not care for or totally understand. This book qualifies for both. Rather than any kind of rational or critical analysis I can only offer here feelings and opinion. Actually, this is the second of three books of Mieville that I pretty much felt that way about. But this was a book I really wanted to like and appreciate. It is a book about language and few things in the world fascinate me more than the subject of language.

I was part of a Goodreads group that read this piece together. I thought that would help. What I believe I did glean was that I was not the only one who struggled with this book. The fact is I generally enjoy tough books. Something I can really sink my teeth into. But the result of all this reader's intellectual mastication was mostly pretty bland. For the life of me I kept getting the feeling that one of Mieville's intentions was to make for a difficult read and not because the story called for it but just to be a pain in the ass.

I had to step back before writing anything about this book. I read five or six other books since finishing Embassytown. I thought maybe it would give me a more favorable perspective... 'didn't work.

I'm actually a bit angry still so I'm going to leave it at that before I get in too deeply. BTW, I'm not angry with CM. I get angry with me when I force myself to finish a book that I'm totally bored with most of the way through. My time is precious and this book just took too much of it.
Read full review

- Robert "Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books."

Book Details

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