Pie and the City and the City and Pi

Part II of Summer in the City and the City…

For my Part I, click here.

***Spoilers Galore***

I was often confused by Borlu’s motivations. He claimed it would be so much more awesome if Breach would take the case so he wouldn’t have to do it. But he was also taking notes that he knew he wouldn’t be able to tell Breach because then he would show he ‘breached’! Not only did he take these notes – which he was aware were illegal – he acted on them! So did he really not want Breach to take the case? Just curiosity or can’t-help-solving-crime ___ persuasion___ personality?

And just what was his special relationship with whats-her-face? How did they meet? Why was she willing to work for him so far out of her jurisdiction and allowance? I never felt these questions were addressed. And that I, as a reader, shouldn’t have cared.

By the end of the book and all the loose ends were tired neatly together, I still felt that the emotions weren’t justified. Why was our victim so gosh darn ANGRY. We were told she was angry, she certainly demonstrated her anger and hot-headedness but I didn’t get what made her so damn touchy about it all. Because she was so passionate that she had found some secret and then went it blew up to be nothing, she felt duped? I suppose. She spent years doing research that was going to make her famous all for naught?

So, yes, the book said she was angry but I never got into the victim’s head to see where she was coming from. Not that we were given much from her side of the story. I kept expecting her notes in all the books she researched to show some AHA! but maybe the puzzle pieces were too obscure for me?

I did guess that Breach was made up of people who breached. Not too many pages ahead of that reveal but I did figure it out so I was most proud of myself. Of course, Borlu was going to end up working Breach = anticlimax.

But I was sad for the victim’s poor parents. Although tha,t too – their intense distrust of their ‘hosts’. Obviously their daughter was a chip off the old block and much more clever.

And I did give a cheer when Borlu shot the sniper. Oh yea, not supposed to see him and then look right at him. Aim. Fire.

Yea, “Breach”… the noun AND the verb; both very odd. Over all, I didn’t not buy the seeing and unseeing or nonseeing concept. Very creative.

I honestly didn’t realize it was a crime mystery story when I started it. (I try not to read the blurbs, oops.) But the setting was cool. Took awhile to get my head around it but I think I finally did. People have talked about it being repetitive and yet it might have been necessary so the reader feels almost trapped, too, in a seeing – NOTseeing confusion.

I just didn’t get Borlu. I wasn’t really rooting for him. Just ambivalent. I probably missed the clues but was only mildly buying into it and kept reading just to find out how it all ended.

I like the book cover.

Can a movie be made of this? I would go see it.

OK, you want to know about the Pie and the Pi. Today is Pi Approximation Day! July 22. I always try to make a pie on all the majoy pie and pi holidays. Here it is!



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10 thoughts on “Pie and the City and the City and Pi

  1. I definitely got into the idea of this book more than I was invested in any of the characters. I read this back in January (my Goodreads review is here, and I couldn’t tell you a thing about the characters today–like you, I just kept reading largely to see how it was all going to play out, not because I was really rooting for anyone, one way or the other.

    The classification as a crime novel totally caught me off guard. I never thought of it that way until I read that bit at the back from the author, and then I was like, Well, duh! I guess it is! LOL. The whole seeing/unseeing thing left me with lots of food for thought too, and I appreciated that.

    If done right, a move version of this would be amazing! I have no idea how you would pull that off though…

  2. Sad about no pie yet, but you still have the rest of today to slap it together! I try not to learn too much about a book ahead of time, either, and it can make for some surprises, especially with the genre-bending books. I always chuckle when I read blog posts about The City and The City, because after I raved about it on my blog, my sister read it, and she didn’t agree with me at all. When it won the Arthur C. Clarke award shortly afterwards, I just had to tell her! But she was a mystery reader growing up and I was more of a fantasy reader, so I think we approached it with different mindsets.

  3. I found this book utterly confusing and lacking in good plot and character development. While I appreciated Mieville’s imagination and high concept, I think he spent so much time developing the idea of the two overlapping cities and the unseeing and whatnot that he didn’t develop the characters at all! And the actual mystery itself was kind of lame.

    However, I am impressed with your idea that all the people in Breach had breached at one time. I never thought about it.

    And I think Christopher Nolan could direct the movie, it’s sort of like Inception. Which I still don’t understand and I don’t even try anymore.

  4. A movie version could be wild but very watchable at the same time.

    How could I have forgotten about breach? The use of that word drove me crazy! He breached. I got it. The breach. I got it. Everyone was flippin’ breaching at some point! I couldn’t keep track. Seemed like Mieville enjoyed the word a little too much.

  5. Ruthiella

    I think the lack of characterization was on purpose, because he was trying to follow typical Sam Spade noir/crime novel tropes. The Maltese Falcon is sort of like that; in that at the end, I went HUH? That’s it? Then again, maybe I am giving Mieville too much credit. :0 Like Dreamybee I was more taken with the concept and paid less attention to the characters and their motivations etc. But I was rooting for Borlu. I liked him well enough. So thanks a bunch for hosting the read along because now I have finally read a Mieville book! Yoohoo! And I am definitely intrigued enough to read something more from him…hmmm, maybe The Kraken next.

  6. I have to admit that your chatter on twitter about this one has me really curious to read it. Sometimes I’m more interested when there’s mixed reviews rather than all raves.

    I MUST know what kind of pie that is. Looks deeeeeeeeeelicious.

  7. I almost think I would like this better if it was a movie. I was never emotionally invested in the characters and I think that’s why I didn’t love it. I did love it when he shot the sniper though!

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