I have admired China Mieville since his release of Perdido Street Station in 2000. The book was so amazingly fresh. His newest release The City & The City is once again, something new. You'd think Philip K. Dick and Franz Kafka had collaborated on a hard-boiled police procedural (not quite Dashiell Hammett but so much fun). The bureaucracy is very Kafka the read is very Philip K. Dick (a psychotic break is always skulking in the periphery of your psyhche). There are two cities sharing the same physical space. Ul Quoma a modern, vibrant European metropolis and Beszel a downtrodden remnant of eastern Europe's, not so great, recent past. The citizens of the two cities "may not", "must not", see one another (tough living condition).
I don't want to give too much of this one away. The story has been crafted by a through, professional, entertaining writer. If you like detective stories, and/or, have enjoyed Philip K. Dick you will not want to miss this somewhat speculative noir romp.
Song in my head today.
"Neon Meat Dream of a Octafish"
Captain Beefheart - Trout Mask Replica (1969)
Produced by Frank Zappa
Top 500 Albums of All Time / Rolling Stone Magazine (2003)