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comment by _refugee_

I just finished reading Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. It was pretty good.

Now I'm working on Mieville's The City and the City, which actually was shipped to me as part of a long-ago and far-off Hubski book experiment by user Creativity. Sorry, Creativity. We kind of borked that one up, didn't we?

Anyway, The City and... is pretty good except for one major issue I'm having with the text. The setting, and much of the conflict of the plot, is established as one physical city which, for reasons lost in the sands of time, are actually considered two separate cities, in fact, two separate countries, essentially. It is a very interesting premise at first.

100 pages in however and I just can't help but wonder why any person in either city would opt to continue the charade. I guess pride? Nationality? Fear of Breach? (When a citizen of one city knowingly acknowledges the other city which they're surrounded by, it causes breach and there is this special supernatural force of Breach which magically whisks that citizen away post-haste. But my question is, where do all those citizens go? How many citizens per year are lost to breach? Like, this seems like it would be difficult to keep population figures up.)

Anyway, I know I'm supposed to employ willing suspension of disbelief here, and I'm trying, but the just total lack of practicality and reasonableness in this set-up is distracting me from the text itself. Like, whose ancient brilliant idea was it that one geographical location should be two cities, neither of which are allowed to interact with each other, supporting 2 governments, 2 class infrastructures, even 2 economies? And that while so doing, somehow feel it's a totally reasonable ask or expectation that individual citizens grow and live while consciously blocking out half of what's around them?

It's an interesting thought experiment, but so is having six children and naming them things like "Shithead," "Poop," "Princess," "Favorite," and "Least Favorite," and seeing what happens. Fun to think about, but only a total asshole would try to implement in reality.

Creativity  ·  945 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I don't remember who did the book experiment but it wasn't me :) I remember seeing the thread though.

_refugee_  ·  945 days ago  ·  link  ·  

was it Complexity ?? Darn, anyone remember?

Complexity  ·  945 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It was me, yes. I wonder where the rest of the books are.

I took The City And The City to be a parable about Israel, specifically Jerusalem, and the close quarters within which different faiths and hatreds nevertheless are drawn to live due to a shared attraction to the holy city.

user-inactivated  ·  945 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My friend told me about this book. They said there's even a system, where if you want to go from one city to the other, you have to go through some kind of checkpoint or something. I don't remember all that well. The conversation was a while ago. From what it sounds like though, it sounds like that it's a very forced way into looking into classism and social stratification and how people go about their lives dealing with it.

_refugee_  ·  945 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yes. You have to go to Copula Hall which is in the center-ish of the city, and you basically have to go through immigrations/customs. that's the only way to get from one city to another...even though they are literally right next to each other geographically ("grosstopically," in the book).