Next stop: Perdido Street Station


Stacie got me a copy of China Miéville’s Perdido Street Station for Christmas. The fact that a month after I finished I’m still passionate about it says something. Especially with fiction, I often treat it like food. It’s an enjoyable experience, possibly worthy of a Tweet, but basically I consume and move on. Not so much with this book.

I’m usually more of a fan of cold and dry futures (melancholic). Cyberpunk-style. This future is warm and moist. Organic. Squalid. Stinky. It took me a bit to settle in to it, but it’s so rich, it will work its way into your brain if you like world-building.

Miéville really loves language. He calls forth the perfect word for any situation. Tip for those who plan to read it: if you come across a word you don’t know, look it up right then. You’re going to see it again. And you’ll think to yourself, “Now what did that mean again?” And then when he hits you with it the third time, you won’t even slow down. This reminds me that I need to contact my condo association about the desquamating paint on my balcony.

But the ending was unsettling. The only other novel I can think to compare it to is Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, where I finished the book and then spent some time just sitting, assessing my feelings about it. And then assessing my feelings about those feelings. Anybody else who’s read Perdido and knows what I’m talking about, come talk with me. You can give me a shout-out, but don’t discuss it here. Want to avoid spoilers for anyone who’s been meaning to pick it up. Let them feel those same raw feelings we felt. That’s a worthwhile part of the experience of this book.

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