Embassytown

China Miéville
Embassytown Cover

Another satisfying Mieville

theman
6/29/2011
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For years I have gotten so excited whenever a new Mieville book appears.  This is his first book that can be put squarely in the science fiction genre.

 His style is instantaneously recognizeable despite his attempts to caste each of his books in a different literary genre.  What I love about his style is his use of language, or more specifically how he commandeers words for his own purposes, alters spellings to imply new definitions or just plain makes words up.  Invariable, this new language, like much of the lushly describe details, are not sufficiently explained but used as if the reader already embraces this as vernacular.  The result is a reliance on understanding through context, which forces the imagination of the reader to fill in the blanks.  The end result is a vivid in detail, yet fuzzy and nebulous world.  He remains in a class of his own.

The other elements of his style which come into play here are the unexpected arches of narrative, and the unsettling knowledge that no character, theme or premise in a Mieville novel is safe from death, dismembership or redefinition.  I have read enough fantasy and science fiction to recognize where stories are going, and this author never fails to surprise.