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Extended Audio Sample The City & The City Audiobook, by China Miéville Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (14,671 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: China Miéville Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2009 ISBN: 9780739384251
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New York Times bestselling author China Miéville 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 Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he investigates, the evidence points to conspiracies far stranger and more deadly than anything he could have imagined.

Borlú 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, Borlú is enmeshed in a sordid underworld of rabid nationalists intent on destroying their neighboring 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This spectacularly, intricately paranoid yarn is worth the effort.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “An outstanding take on police procedurals…Through this exaggerated metaphor of segregation, Miéville skillfully examines the illusions people embrace to preserve their preferred social realities.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “China Mieville has made his name via award-winning, genre-bending titles such as King Rat, Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and Iron Council. Now, in The City & The City, he sets out to bend yet another genre, that of the police procedural, and he succeeds brilliantly…[An] extraordinary, wholly engaging read.”

    St. Petersburg Times

  • “Evoking such writers as Franz Kafka and Mikhail Bulgakov, Mr. Miéville asks readers to make conceptual leaps and not to simply take flights of fancy.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “An eye-opening genre-buster. The names of Kafka and Orwell tend to be invoked too easily for anything a bit out of the ordinary, but in this case they are worthy comparisons.”

    Times (London)

  • “If Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler’s love child were raised by Franz Kafka, the writing that emerged might resemble China Mieville’s new novel, The City & The City.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • Daring and disturbing . . . Miéville illuminates fundamental and unsettling questions about culture, governance and the shadowy differences that keep us apart. Walter Mosley, author of Devil in a Blue Dress
  • "Lots of books dabble in several genres but few manage to weld them together as seamlessly and as originally as The City and The City. In a tale set in a series of cities vertiginously layered in the same space, Miéville offers the detective novel re-envisioned through the prism of the fantastic. The result is a stunning piece of artistry that has both all the satisfactions of a good mystery and all the delight and wonder of the best fantasy. Brian Evenson, author of Last Days
  • If Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler's love child were raised by Franz Kafka, the writing that emerged might resemble China Mieville's new novel, The City & the City. Los Angeles Times
  • China Mieville has made his name via award-winning, genre-bending titles such as King Rat, Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council. Now, in The City & the City, he sets out to bend yet another genre, that of the police procedural, and he succeeds brilliantly…. [An] extraordinary, wholly engaging read. St. Petersburg Times
  • “An eye-opening genre-buster. The names of Kafka and Orwell tend to be invoked too easily for anything a bit out of the ordinary, but in this case they are worthy comparisons. The Times, London
  • Evoking such writers as Franz Kafka and Mikhail Bulgakov, Mr. Miéville asks readers to make conceptual leaps and not to simply take flights of fancy. Wall Street Journal
  • “An outstanding take on police procedurals…. Through this exaggerated metaphor of segregation, Miéville skillfully examines the illusions people embrace to preserve their preferred social realities. Publishers Weekly, starred review
  • An excellent police procedural and a fascinating urban fantasy, this is essential reading for all mystery and fantasy fans. Booklist, starred review
  • This spectacularly, intricately paranoid yarn is worth the effort. Kirkus, starred review
  • Selected for the June 2009 Indie Next List
  • A 2009 Los Angeles Times Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2009 Seattle Times Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2009 Publishers Weekly Best Book for Fiction
  • Winner of the 2010 Hugo Award for Best Novel
  • Winner of the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award
  • Winner of the 2010 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel
  • Winner of the 2010 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel
  • A 2010 John W. Campbell Memorial Award Finalist
  • A 2009 Nebula Award Finalist for Best Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Katy | 2/13/2014

    " I was a little confused at first, but as the story unfolded everything became clearer. Interesting concept, fast read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rianor | 1/22/2014

    " Compared often to Dick, Chandler or even Kafka, this is refreshingly ambitious fantasy book. However his divided city as portrayal of human niches is too allegorical, not metaphorical enough to support reader's imagination. Due to lack of content, we simply have murder-mystery book, where author breaks genre cliches to stress its failed to deliver substance. So in the end the book also fails to deliver as genre reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 1/21/2014

    " The first sci fi book I've read in years. And I raced through it. A good detective story in its own right but add the conceit of its mythic eastern European location and dual city conflict intrigue and it becomes even better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Notme | 1/17/2014

    " This book is one of those that make me forgive the cross-generessness. It's a part fantasy, part political thriller, part police procedural and I have no idea what else, but I'm pretty sure some other genres could be assigned. The way it was interwoven, though, is everything. It is seamless, a whole. Author's way with words, with language is rare and astonishing. The world he created is, to me, detailed and complete, to the point where you can see the "mood" of the place, feel it, hear it and smell it. The plot gets your attention, even if, at first, I have to admit, I had no idea what the plot is, and I had a hard time figuring out the setting. Once I did, I was riveted. Even thought I think the premise is unrealistic in our world (we evolved to SEE and HEAR and REGISTER as much as we can in order for our species to survive, and I don't think UNSEEING, UNHEARING and UNNOTICING can be accomplished by our species at this point, and maybe ever), who is to say that in alternative world that could not be done? Anyhow, it makes for a great novel. It is the firs one I read by China Miéville and, even thought some reviews stated it's not one of is best I think it was an excellent introduction of the new (to me ) author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jana | 12/26/2013

    " It was a very interesting premise, but it just never really sucked me in and made me want to read it. As a result it took me a long time to get through, which probably made the problem worse... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eva | 12/6/2013

    " Great idea, but not worth so many pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dorothy | 11/11/2013

    " I only read Embassytown by China Mieville before, so I was expecting a SciFi here. But it sure didn't look like one in the beginning! But the pace picked up at Chapter 4. Still so many unanswered questions at the end, even though those questions seem pointless at this point. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Imajicaman | 11/11/2013

    " Nope, not for me. China's worst so far in my opinion of corse. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Takim Williams | 4/27/2013

    " This was a departure from China's usual "New Weird" fantasy, but still an awesome book with a gripping plot and a brilliant, unique setting. the central mystery was solved but Mieville leaves the reader with a lot to think about. I'm still thinking about it... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 4/4/2013

    " China does a solid noir here but he's best read in full color! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vince | 3/4/2013

    " Mieville weaves murder, intrigue, and bizarre social boundaries. Skilled prose, a fascinatingly implausible concept, and good twists frame a tale not-quite-SF but definitely "weird fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chuck Cannon | 11/18/2012

    " A good read. Almost never boring and it was fun to figure out. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fred Fenimore | 9/20/2012

    " Just finished The City and the City by China Mieville and have to say its one of the most thought provoking books I've read in the past few years (followed closely by Embassytown.) Take quantum physics and the "spiritual thrillers" of Charles Williams, add a dash of Dashiel.. and enjoy! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 6/10/2012

    " Interesting sci-fi police procedural which inspires good discussion about modern society. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Oanh | 9/16/2011

    " Excellent. Well written, adhering (rather cleverly Mr Mieville) to the conventions of two genres and providing much thought-povoking fodder. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 11/14/2010

    " This is the best book I've read in awhile. I loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alex Turner | 6/20/2010

    " Great read, good plot in an interesting setting. Would of liked the ending to be a little less predictable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pandojc | 3/28/2010

    " This was such an interesting concept for a novel but the middle really dragged. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason Whittington | 2/7/2010

    " The description of this story didn't appeal to me, but I unexpectedly thoroughly enjoyed it. Though it is of course very different, it was made more powerful to me by my recent travels in Jerusalem. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jonathan Urquhart | 12/1/2009

    " Meh. Not his best. Not bad by any means but The Scar and Perdido Street Station meant that my expectations were extraordinarily high. Still worth a read though. "

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About the Author

China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, winner of the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; Iron Council, winner of the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Looking for Jake, a collection of short stories; and Un Lun Dun, a New York Times bestseller.

About the Narrator

John Lee has read more than 100 audiobooks. His work has garnered multiple Earphones Awards and won AudioFile‘s Best Voice in Fiction & Classics in both 2008 and 2009. He also narrates video games, does voice-over work, and writes plays. He is also an accomplished stage actor and has written and co-produced the feature films Breathing Hard and Forfeit. He played Alydon in the 1963–64 Doctor Who serial The Daleks.