Monday, December 05, 2011
I finished China Miéville's The City & The City. It's a police procedural (body found, detective investigates) that, says wikipedia, "takes place in the cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma. These two cities actually occupy much of the same geographical space, but via the volition of their citizens (and the threat of the secret power known as Breach), they are perceived as two different cities. A denizen of one city must dutifully 'unsee' (that is, consciously erase from their mind or fade into the background) the denizens, buildings, and events taking place in the other city — even if they are an inch away." All the unseeing has much resonance with the hidden in aletheia, the appropriation of one city and the concomitant veiling of the other city. And in-between the two cities are also hidden Breach and Orsiny. If you unsee one locale, you may also be unseeing others. I half expected Miéville to go Hegelian and make Orsiny the synthesis of the two cities, but he didn't. I was also ready for him to use the Breach as the clearing into the open, but that's been left for another, even more ontological, novel.
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