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Looking for Jake and Other Stories Kindle Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Length: 324 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description

Review

'The collection comes garlanded with the usual hyperbolic cover
blurbs, and in this instance it's hard not to agree.' -- The Guardian

'an impressive collection, with an array of forms but a
consistently unnerving tone.'
-- Independent on Sunday

'fantastically anarchic and bitingly satirical... the master of
new weird.' -- Dreamwatch

The Boston Globe

Beautifully evocative language, social conscience, a clear sense of history, romantic longing, intelligence, despair. This is, very possibly, greatness.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2156 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Tor; Reprints edition (4 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004SOJ42O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #59,116 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By A. Whitehead TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
Looking for Jake (2005) is China Mieville's fifth book and his first short story collection. The thirteen short stories and one novella are mostly set in London, but in nearly every story London has changed or been altered in some strange, often undefinable manner, creating a highly unsettling atmosphere that permeates every story in the collection.

The book opens with 'Looking for Jake' itself. The title story is a letter from one inhabitant of London to another, against the backdrop of a city where people have vanished and an overwhelming sense of listlessness has overtaken the populace. It's short, haunting and sets the tone for the book impressively. 'Foundation' follows things up in a similar manner and is arguably the most horrific story in the collection, with it's protagonist who sees what other people cannot.

'The Ball Room', cowritten with Emma Bircham and Max Schaefer, is an ambiguous, murky little ghost story with an unusual setting which is highly disturbing, digging into the fears of every parent. On the other hand, 'Reports of Certain Events in London' is one of the most 'fun' story in the collection. The narrator is Mieville himself, claiming to have received a curious package of documents through the post which suggest that there's far more to the winding backstreets of suburbia than first meets the eye. There's a nice line of humour in this tale that contrasts well with the grimness of some of the other tales, and is one of Mieville's stories where the influence of Neil Gaiman on his writing is most evident.

'Familiar' is a downright grotesque tale of survival and identity with some nevertheless darkly amusing moments.
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By John M. Ford TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
This collection includes fourteen stories, mostly short, by China Miéville. Most have his trademark strangeness, with the dark, oozy feel of Bas-Lag--although only one is set in that world. There isn't a shallow, cheerful tale in the lot.

My three favorites:

"The Ball Room" brings a creepy uncomfortableness to our experiences with those kids' play areas filled with plastic balls. They seem contained and safe, but... anything could be happening under there.

"Reports of Certain Events in London" explores the wild streets of London. They appear and disappear, hunt and hide from each other, and are mostly indifferent to the world of humans. Walking down a street ought to be safe and uneventful. Sometimes it is.

"The Tain" is the most like Miéville's longer fiction. It chronicles the precipitating events and the lingering aftermath of an invasion by "imagos" from mirrors and other reflective surfaces. There are strange settings, fantastic characters, and a complex plot. It's the good old weird stuff his fans love.

These stories prompted some reflection about why I enjoy Miéville's writing. His longer pieces work for me, not just for the imaginative strangeness, but for the multiple interwoven subplots, the abundance and diversity of strange ideas, and the creeping progress through fantastic landscapes.

In contrast, many of these short stories take on a single idea and exhaust it. The ideas are good: a pane of glass that looks somewhere different than the others, Christmas with all of the trappings trademarked, threatening presences in the fine patterns of cracks and shadows around us--good stuff! But most of these stories just stay with one idea.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is in some sense a rebuttal of the reviews for the hardback version of this collection. I found the selection very entertaining, combining well thought out concepts and excellent narrative structure. The stories are written in such a way as to keep the reader at arms length, often written from a first person perspective and exploitng this in using the unreliable narrator to add depth to the story. I don't really want to go into too much detail as many of the stories hinge on a few but highly important details. On a more general note of content, there is a good short story from the Bas-Lag universe which adds to the scattered canon of work on Mieville's "robin hood" figure of Jack-Half-a-Prayer, as well as a copy of "the Tain" Mieville's hard to find novella. There has been some negativity around the collection and there are two disappointments. The first is the story in graphic format "on the way to the front" which doesn't read terribly well or clearly and probably needed a short written introduction. The other is the "looking for jake" story which is a good read, but largely hinges on the composition of a letter, which is lacks for originality given that Mieville uses the composing of a letter as an integral narrative device in "the scar". In conclusion I would like to recommend this collection to other readers, but ask them to be realistic the stories are considerably shorter than his other works and so should not be judged against them as other reviewers have attempted to do...
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Format: Paperback
This is the first book I've read by this author, so - looking at some of the other reviews here - I'm not influenced by comparisons with his other works. I loved this book - it's excellently written, the plot twists are actually twisty (i.e. not consistently predictable), it's paranoid and apocalyptic. Like the schizophrenic thoughts you'd get after a heavy session on speed and acid and three days with no sleep, made into real worlds. These stories have somthing of a Ray Bradbury quality of well-crafted vignettes, but with a consistently darker cast to them. Whilst I agree that the cartoon story - sorry, graphic novella - isn't that great, as a collection it rocks. Three stars? You're avin a larf!
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