I have an abusive relationship with China Mieville. He batters me. He overwrites to a tremendous degree, knocking me over with a clenched fist full of two dollar words. After I’m finished looking those up, he kicks me in the gut with an intentionally obtuse description of a totally alien structure, making sure I’m just not smart enough to get it, that I’m just not good enough to understand the barely conveyed cityscape that only one who lived there could truly comprehend.
But I keep coming back, because somehow, it’s just too good to pass up. Somehow the showy writing style makes his writing better, the unrelenting darkness of his world makes them more compelling. But more than that, I know of no one that has built a world the way that China Mieville did in Perdido Street Station. Now he’s back with the BFSA nominated The City and The City and, even though I hoped he’d be different this time, from page one, he was back to his old tricks.
I’m not far enough along to give an accurate review, but he has a way of both pulling me into a world and putting me off at the same time that I find incredibly compelling. I’ll let you know how things go as I read. I really think I might be able to change him this time.