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3.5 out of 5 stars8
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 3 March 2016
Outraged and intelligent analysis of some of the things going wrong in London (and, by extension, the UK) at the moment. Specifically austerity, but also racism and other related issues. A bit of a rant, it jumps from topic to topic with a fact here, a statistic there, snippets of interviews and lots of poetic-apocalyptic grumblings. I'd probably have preferred a longer, more detailed analysis which was less concerned with dark, weird imagery. Talking of which, the photos the author has taken on his phone are mostly incomprehensible blurs and seem to be there mainly to pad out the pages.
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on 16 November 2014
Not at all what I expected. I bought this in a hurry for a holiday and I thought it would be a story like his others. It is nothing of the kind.It is a very small, in size and quantity of content, but very powerful book, in my opinion of course.
Based all around pre apocalyptic London it brings home some pretty strong home truths. I did not think I would enjoy it at first but never having been disappointed with the author I carried on and did enjoy it and the fact that it certainly makes you think.
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on 6 November 2012
This is undoubtedly and excellenty written essay. And note it is a short essay, not a book. It has become a book only by increasing font size, including plenty of whitespace, lots of margin space, and plenty of semi-empty pages. And a whole bunch of very poorly executed photos (dear editors, Melville is an essayist, not a photographer; get a professional next time). Which begs the question why it is priced as a book and not a short essay.

But while it is very well written (almost poetic) the content leaves somewhat to be desired, with a rather superficial analysis of contemporary London. Yes, some of the ideas are good, but they need more thought and more factual backing, as often they just come across as unsubstantiated opinion.
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on 1 April 2013
I'm a big fan of China Mieville and when i read the other reviews for this book i expected it to contain a view of london that offered a new perspective on current issues. what i found instead was a collection of basic opinions held by the majority of england about the last 3-4 years of economic decline and the widening rich-poor divide.

this would only be useful to someone who's lived under a rock or has been in a coma for the last 5 years, there's nothing in the contents that hasn't been endlessly discussed through every news medium available, i felt betrayed and misled by the other reviews and angry that i'd parted with £5.

and don't even get me started on the grainy pictures incorporated in the essay, i felt they were added to plump out the book, and add a few page numbers and had no really content or bearing.

Overall don't waste your money, stick to his fictional works (which are unparalleled in his genre)
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on 27 March 2013
I don't live in London, I live in the other 5% of the country. The capital has the sense of being a cultural black hole, sucking in all the resources of the country, I resent that. CM's essay though shows London and Londoners as more than the bloated stinking sump it seems to the outsider.

This is an excoriating rebuttal of the capitalism which cloaks its self in London's glory, a celebration of the city as a hoary old survivor, lurching from one apocalypse to another.
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on 12 December 2015
Really interesting. And topical, surprisingly. Good condition
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on 24 February 2013
Mieville doesn't make any attempt to give a balanced view of the situation in London towards the end of 2011, his prose is entertaining and gives a real sense of dread and desperation among certain echelons of British society.
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on 23 October 2013
I like the imagination behind all his novels, if you've never read any then give them a try. Two words.
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