Saturday, July 18, 2009

The third act of Miéville's The City & The City was a tremendous disappointment. All the hauntingly interesting suggestiveness of the early parts devolved into mere . . . mereness. There's no explanation given for the capabilities of the one truly science fictional element in the book, which on closer inspection doesn't appear science fictional at all—or even interesting. There is an incredibly long conversation when our protagonist confronts the perpetrator; gun-to-gun, then walk us through all the events of the story, sucking the final bit of life from the narrative. Miéville tries to keep the prose level up by throwing his energy into interesting verbs or snappy, noirish exchanges, but he's fighting the downward swirl to no avail, in part because much of what he's set up as the book's main conceit looks, by the end, silly. Ah well.

I have much higher hopes for Nabokov's Pnin, which I started today, and which has already made me laugh out loud a few times in the early pages. Genius.

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