Monday, August 17, 2015

The City & the City

Ah, China Mieville (if that's is your real name...I feel like it is probably Neil Shufflebottom) I get it, you like a challenge. You want to write a book in each genre, which probably helps you with writer's block. I get it...must write detective not know how to write detective novel.... Well, buddy, like I would tell a 3rd grade soccer kid, good effort, good effort.  I like your hustle.

The City & the City is, yes, a detective novel, but it's not a particularly good detective novel.  It is a kind of interesting political novel with sci-fi type elements. I've seen this put in the category of fantasy. That's not right though. It's much more like 1984 than 1Q84. There are zero wizards. Zero. Giant Spiders? Zero. That's kind of shame as Mieville is really good at writing fantasy.  This is the literary equivalent of Usain Bolt deciding to start a singing career. 

The best part of this book is the setting. Twin cities, which consider themselves separate countries, live without a physical border but all of the citizens are forced (by training as children) to "unsee" everything in the foreign country. Getting a falafel on the other side? That's a paddlin'. Actually it's worse than a paddlin', the secret police come for you and you disappear. Luckily this city weirdness is the focus of the book--the murder mystery seems more like an afterthought. Sometimes I wonder if rich people "unsee" my 16 year old car. That would explain a lot. It's either that or I got the last of the Nissan Romulan models. 

Whenever I see a mojito or mint julep cocktail, I choose to unsee it.  I'm just not a huge fan of mint. I'll admit it limits my drinks. So, I found this Orange Mojito recipe and I'm like Hey! Muddle a half of orange, half of lime (cut into large chunks), with 2 teaspoons sugar and a few sprigs of mint (I say this is optional) in a large rocks glass. Add two and half ounces of light rum and ice.  Cover this with a cocktail shaker and shake or stir until cold.  

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