Masterpiece. The crazy style of China Miéville is notorious. He specialized into a science fiction sub genre called weird fiction, which mixes the real world with some out-of-the-place elements that are common of the characters, somewhat like Lovecraft. Almost all his books are great. But The City and The City is really really great.
The story is a noir murder investigation. The main character is the detective Tyador Borlú and the story is first person point of view. Borlú is a great character, clever but not a Sherlock and a little sarcastic about his job.
One curious thing is that I “read” the audiobook. At the beginning i was completely lost because the name of the characters and places: Besźel, Ul Qoma, Tyador Borlú are just unusual.. I had to check the names on internet to see how they are written. After some time, they become familiar.
It’s basic concept is fascinating: two cities that occupy the same physical space, at the same time. People that live in one have to “ignore” the existence of the other. “Trespass” this is a crime worse than murder. Crazy crazy concept. That is just one element that stick you to the book.
As of September 2010, the novel only won the Hugo Award for Best Novel, tied with Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, the BSFA Award for Best Novel of 2009, as well as the 2010 Arthur C. Clarke Award and won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.