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The City and the City redux

So I read The City and the City a second time, both because I wanted to have a better handle on it for the discussion at Potlatch and because I really enjoyed it that much. I loved it just as much the second time around, too. It is full of narrative and intellectual felicities and beautiful, pitch-perfect phrases. "Schrödinger's pedestrian," for example. Now there's something I could aspire to!

This time around, however, I liked the chapter in which the murderer is revealed (the same chapter that features the above phrase, in fact) much better. The first time I read it as a simple expository dump, but this time I understood the dramatics better. What's unusual about the reveal is that it hinges on academic scholarship. Inspector Borlú himself is a kind of scholar, but he's also trapping a scholar both through his own scholarship and through analyzing that of the murderer and, finally, through an appeal to his scholarly curiosity. It's really quite clever, and it hinges on the bifurcated, interstitial nature of the two cities as well, as everything in the book does. I think what happened on my first reading is that my generic expectations led me to see something more banal than what was actually there.

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randy_byers
Feb. 16th, 2014 04:53 pm (UTC)
It definitely held up the second time through. It's a fascinating place he's created.
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