Hope all that celebrate it had a happy Thanksgiving and if you had to travel there was minimal groping at the airport. I was in the middle of nowhere the last few days which meant I had limited online access so I'm just catching up on everything now. It was nice to unplug but my email and Google Reader are a bit daunting at the moment. In between stuffing my face with far too much food and playing with my dad's terror of a dachshund Puccini (my grandmother likes Italian opera and my dad likes puns), I did manage to finish The City and The City.
I was honestly let down by the book and I partially blame this on expectations set by a blurb* on the back of the book. A blurb from The Times says: "The names 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." I expected the dual cities to be explained and to offer some sort of social commentary for the modern world. But that never happened. The two cities make for an interesting setting but the story remains a fairly straightforward murder mystery. Woman found murdered because she was getting too close to The Truth, detective has to discover The Truth to solve the mystery. It's not a bad story or a bad mystery but that blurb made me expect so much more.
The mystery itself was interesting and I wasn't able to guess it before hand. Of course I usually don't guess the outcome before hand so take that with a grain of salt. Just because the book wasn't what I expected, the setting felt like more than just a gimmick. The setting is integral to the mystery, I just wish the setting had been more important than the mystery.
I've sat here staring at this entry for awhile and I'm not sure what else to say about the book. Give it a try, it was an interesting story but Kafka and Orwell it is not.
*Greg at The New Dork Review has a great post about the importance of blurbs so check it out if you get a chance.