…Mieville that is.
Last year I pretty much only read Neil Gaiman. For whatever reason I was on a kick, and I loved it. Then a friend of mine started to suggest other authors that I might like. I was drawn to China Mieville for some reason. I looked around for the one he was most known for, Perdido Street Station, but it had like a dozen or more holds on it, so I went with Kraken just to get a taste. Well, what can I say…I was hooked! So, here’s the first review from “My year with China” 🙂 enjoy and maybe at the end (or the beginning) you’ll be intrigued enough to go out and read a novel from this very gifted writer…
Now, I may have already reviewed this, but I’m going to mention it again because it’s really darn good.
Kraken is one of those books that you have to let grow on you. You really have to read it through and let the characters and the universe in which they inhabit take you around for a couple of beers. Sure, it takes a while, but once you do, you realize how funny, intelligent and serious they are. It’s not an easy book to read, the language employed by one character specifically is rife with colloquialisms and I found that I, at first, had to read some of her dialogue several times over before I understood what was being said.
The premise of the book is:
An inexplicable event has occurred at the British Museum of Natural History—a forty foot specimen of giant squid in formalin has disappeared overnight. Additionally, a murder victim is found folded into a glass bottle. Various groups are interested in getting the squid back, including a naive staff member, a secret squad of London police, assorted religious cults, and various supernatural and mostly dead criminal elements. The wondrous squid represents deity to the Church of Kraken Almighty. Did they liberate their god, or could it have been stolen by a rival cult? [from the wikipedia page]
In a review for The Guardian, Damien G Walter says:
“Kraken seems as though Miéville is taking a step back from the artistic agenda that has previously informed his writing, perhaps to flex creative muscles grown stiff in the constraining seriousness of the New Weird. And Miéville sets about his dark comedy with almost unseemly relish. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/may/15/china-mieville-kraken-novel]”
This being my introduction to Mieville, I was intrigued by the darkness and yet comedic nature of many of the elements at play here. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. It was rather delicious in the end. I wanted more Mieville.
If you enjoy dark, suspenseful novels entailing plenty of intrigue and other-worldliness, then Kraken just may be the book for you. If you want to read China Mieville, this isn’t a bad place to start…it’s like finding out who Clint Eastwood is by watching Space Cowboys: you’ll get to know the man, but you won’t know what he is really well known for. It’s enjoyable, but if you want the meat of his work, then, for China Mieville, go on to Perdido Street Station, which I will be reviewing in the next couple of weeks (for Eastwood, watch Unforgiven).
“My Google-fu is strong.”
“Subby Subby Subby,” whispered Goss. “Keep those little bells on your slippers as quiet as you can. Sparklehorse and Starpink have managed to creep out of Apple Palace past all the monkeyfish, but if we’re silent as tiny goblins we can surprise them and then all frolic off together in the Meadow of Happy Kites.”
[quotes from: goodreads.com]