I’ve finally found a way to love China Miéville.

Which I feel really guilty about. Not loving him before, that is. I’ve tried to read The City and the City and Kraken and I ended up giving up on both books. I couldn’t get into them. The prose was beautiful and simultaneously felt entirely opaque to me.

And for once, this isn’t one I blame the author for. I feel like there’s some sort of inner disfunction that I have going, preventing me from really sinking into the story. I’m a bit lazy as a reader, sometimes, and I tend to give up on challenging things because I’d rather read about people shooting at each other after I’ve had a brain-melting day at work.


I decided I was going to read Embassytown since it’s on the Hugo list, and I’m being a responsible voter. To be honest, I was dreading it a little, since I remember too well beating my head against The City and the City and feeling horribly guilty when I couldn’t do it. Then, when I was asking for audiobook recommendations so I’d have something to listen to on long rides and the amazing Janiece suggested Embassytown. I gave it a try.

Riding along at 18mph and sweating fit to die is apparently a place where I can stop wrestling with prose and just absorb it. I let the words wash over me while I’m building up a good burn, and they just are. It was wonderful, and I finally understand why people have such fabulous things to say about China Miéville’s books.

I’m thinking this might just be how China Miéville’s works are meant to be consumed, at least by me. I think I’ll try The City and the City once I run through my current set of books and see if I like it as much.

By the way? The actual book itself is very interesting. The aliens he came up with are utterly fascinating. There was a place or two where I could have done with a little less exposition, and some of the speechifying at the end went on a little for my tastes, but I found the characters compelling and the culture interesting. So I definitely recommend it. In audiobook format, of course.

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