I haven’t been such a good reader recently. I’ve been spending valuable reading-time watching tv instead (Voyager, Archer, anyone?).
For christmas, however, my wonderful uncle John (middle name Beowulf) gifted The City and the City to my significant. Like many other great books, this one took a longer time to get all singularly wrapped-up in, but it’s worth every bit of your time.
This noir spans two cities that share the same physical space, joined by artifices, roads and parks, but separated culturally and politically. The two cities are crosshatched and divided like a chessboard, and the borders are invisibly and ruthlessly controlled by Breach, an international agency tasked with keeping the two cities separate. Those walking in the city of Beszel may pass someone in Ul Qoma, but speak to them, look at them, or make any sort of cross-border contact and you’ll be taken by Breach and never seen again.
The murder of Mahalia Geary at first seems like a simple case for Besz inspector Tyador Borlu, we soon learn however, that finding her killer will require international cooperation, something the two cities have little experience with. Geary’s murder seems to have been caused by her persistent and troublesome interest in the fabled city of Orciny, an elusive third city, tucked between the other two. With so many people scared of the past, the government and above all, Breach, Borlu finds himself twisting through this amazingly landscape with false clues, government corruption, violent underground movements, archaeological treasures, and corporate intrigue.
Sounds good, right? Go get a copy from your local bookseller!