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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 neighbouring 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
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Customer Reviews

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By Jono on 08-12-12

A wonderfull introduction to the power of audio

Would you consider the audio edition of The City & The City to be better than the print version?

I have not read the print version

Who was your favorite character and why?

The lead detective was the central character and was both compelling and enjoyable

What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

Absolutely amazing reading

Any additional comments?

My first China Mieville and a wonderful listen. The story slowly builds and expands and John Lee's reading was fantastic!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Ilana on 05-27-12

Noir with a Twist

Inspector Tyador Borlu, who lives in the fictional rundown East European city of Beszel is called in when a young unidentified woman if found murdered. Borlu has lived his whole life in Beszel and has therefore been deeply programmed to "unsee" the other city, Ul Qoma, which occupies virtually the same physical space, but has a completely different economy, customs, ways of dressing and language. When it appears that the young woman might have been murdered in one city and dumped into the other, Borlu must "travel" to Ul Qoma to work closely with their own police force, but in preparation for his trip he must first undergo training to insure he can "unsee" his hometown of Beszel while he is staying in Ul Qoma. Quite a mind twister, but a fascinating story which puts into question questions of identity and the amount of programming we are all subjected to in order to conform to the order prescribed by the powers that be. China Miéville is known for exploring different genres with each novel, and here he does the Noir criminal mystery genre with a twist very well indeed. My first Miéville and certainly not my last.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Grammath on 11-01-11

Fantastic, in both senses

Mieville skillfully combines the tropes of a police procedural novel with his extraordinary, surreal creation. Unlike the cliched sword and sorcery fantasy writers who invoke the rural and the medieval in their worlds, Mielville's work is fiercely urban both here and in his other novels making him, to my mind, a much more interesting writer than George R.R. Martin and his ilk.

There is more to Mieville's creation, however, than simply fantastical story telling. The author is a committed socialist and often uses his fiction to make political points. Here, the message is about how easy we find it to ignore the ills of our societies in the same way as the two cities are trained to ignore one another.

This is a fantastic novel in both senses of the word. Its sheer inventiveness and the force of its central conceit are undeniable and I was drawn into this richly imagined world. I guess how much you like this novel (and I liked it very much) will depend on how much you can buy into it.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful


By Jessica on 03-12-14

Not My Usual Sort of Story, But I Liked It

The synopsis intrigued me and the reviews drew me in - and I'm glad, this is a compelling story.
An interstitial city within 2 cities where new cultures and dynamics must be conformed too is brilliantly and convincingly crafted by the author.
My only complaint is that I failed to 'feel' for any of the characters, but that may be part of the world they live in.

If like me, you've need convincing to step outside of genres you're used to - be bold, try The City and The City. A great story, a great listen.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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By emmoff on 11-26-16

Not a mundane police procedural

Two cities which occupy the same physical space, overlapping, but never mingling. What separates them is not a conventional border, although there is an official passport control, but the social barriers set up by both the custom of "un-seeing" and the strict "breach" law that enforces it. So a person standing next to you but in the other city, by social consent, must be "unseen".
Throw into this a murder that involves both countries and you have - Philip K Dick meets a police procedural.
Very original and very enjoyable. A metaphor for modern life.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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