When the Booker longlist was announced there was some anger from the science fiction community that China Miéville was excluded from the list. Damien Walter was particularly vocal on Twitter, and so, keen to ensure I wasn’t missing out on a great author, I decided to read one of his books. It was agreed that Perdido Street Station was the best and so I bought a copy. I was a little daunted when a 870 page chunkster dropped through my letter box, but I was still keen to find out why people were raving about this book.
Perdido Street Station began really well, with vivid descriptions of a strange world.
Isaac, the central character, is employed to study winged animals by a secrective creature who has lost his wings. I loved the character development and the imaginative plot – I was hooked for the first half of the book.
Everything started to go wrong at about the 500 page mark. The plot deteriorated into one long chase scene; I became bored by the continual fighting and longed for the thoughtfulness of the beginning to return. The ending was also a disappointment. It was such a shame, as I was really enjoying it.
I can see why this book won so many fantasy awards, but now I know why it didn’t win the Booker, or any other literary fiction prize. This book is beautifully written, but it doesn’t have the depth required for literary fiction. It is an incredible work of imagination, but in the end it lacked enough emotion or depth for me.
Recommended to people who are very passionate about their science fiction, but not to lovers of literary fiction.
Have you read anything written by China Miéville?
I was very intrigued to read that he is planning to write a book in every genre. He is clearly a talented author and so I will read more of his books in the future. I am especially tempted by his latest book The City & The City,which is described as detective noir novel. Has anyone read it?