Sunday 11 April 2021

Review by Colin Gardiner of "The City & The City" by China Miéville


The City and The City begins as a routine police investigation into the murder of a young student. Inspector Borlú, of the Extreme Crime Squad is drawn into a strange and unsettling conspiracy that compels him to navigate a perilous journey across physical and psychological borders. 

The novel is set between the East European twin cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma. Both places are inexorably separated by an invisible but harshly defined boundary. Infringement is policed by a mysterious and uncanny force and citizens live in constant fear of ‘breach.’

The setting is urban but with a hallucinatory blur, where indoctrination and paranoia form the perfect setting for dramatic tension. The characters are sharply defined with subtle and concise details.

Miéville expertly weaves the genre of police procedure and magic realism into a stunning meditation on city life and the imagined borders we create to avoid irrevocable realities. 

About the reviewer
Colin Gardiner has recently completed his MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. He lives in Coventry with his husband. He writes short stories and poems and has been published by The Ekphrastic Review, Ink Pantry, The Midnight Street Press and the Creative Writing at Leicester blog. More of his work can be read here. 

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