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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

What members say

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  • Ki
  • 2018-11-27

unsatisfying drudgery

a confusing over-hyped story that left me feeling unsatisfied. the writing and performance is beautiful, but the story feels like a pointless experiment among characters I don't care about. Im sorry Mieville, this one aint for me

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jono
  • 2012-08-12

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ilana
  • 2012-05-27

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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  • Eszter
  • 2013-09-07

Eh - it was okay. John Lee saved it

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The plot was pretty flat and ended kind of boring. Its a murder mystery set in an alternate world but I feel that alternate world wasn't enough to set this apart from any other bland mystery

Has The City & The City turned you off from other books in this genre?

This is cross genre so no.

Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

I liked the main character as performed by Lee. I love John Lee's narrating.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

It might be better as a movie. And that's why its a pretty crappy book. Not enough substance.

Any additional comments?

A slightly better Mieville story but still not extraordinary or memorable. The reason for the duality of the cities was not very well explained - or I wasn't interested enough to remember it. And thus it can't have been that groundbreaking . The end was a let down.
Its another of those books where the protagonist goes here and does something and then they go there and do something and it never really adds anything to the plot or fleshes out the world any better.
It was a cool idea let down by a boring plot and poor execution. Even John Lee's fantastic narration couldn't save this one.

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  • Shom
  • 2013-04-05

Highly recommended

Any additional comments?

I am lucky in that I have read quite a few extraordinary books this year. This is certainly one of them. A masterpiece of the genre. Miéville is the superstar of the genre, and I was intrigued to find out why. Now I know. His acclaim is well deserved - This is top notch social commentary, a breakneck, hurtling detective story, and the best sci-fi novel I have read in a long, long time.

The voice artiste does a great job too.


Please listen. Highly recommended.

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  • K
  • 2013-03-07

Fascinating

This is a really excellent story: interesting and twisty. It was also brilliantly read.