China Miéville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice. The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell and Philip K. Dick. His novel Embassytown was a first and widely praised foray into science fiction.
For the purposes of this list I’m suggesting books that I don’t just love, but that feel to me, in various ways, particularly suited to discussion. They may be particularly generous, in my eyes, particularly opaque, or perhaps both. Whatever the reasons, these are among the books I itch not only to read, but to talk about.
White is for Witching
A brilliant, strange, scary work, at once faithful to and subversive of gothic tradition, subtle enough to repay and demand repeated investigations.
It may seem redundant and unimaginative to recommend one of the most famous and book-grouped books in history. I do so because it unendingly stuns me, and every time I read it I learn more, and I stumble across more, and into more depths, within it. Like many classics, this is a book that suffers sometimes from our sense that we know it - not least because we’re so often wrong.
Andrew Wilmingot’s Paradise Rex, Press Inc.
One pleasure of reading in a group is engaging with less well-known, more experimental works - like this slim book, put out by the small press PS Publishing. (I wrote the afterword, but I hope that doesn’t count as a conflict of interests given that I begged to write it because I thought the book so extraordinary.) A strange, demanding and moving _sui generis_ work that flits between forms, encompassing memoir, poetry and script, as well as prose.
The Mistress of Silence
To describe this as a post-apocalypse novel is both accurate and misleading. Beautifully translated by Ros Schwartz, the book is hard and sad and unremitting, without any schmaltz or prurience so often associated with ‘harrowing’ literature. Here, among her other startling and affecting achievements, Harpman dignifies a certain hate.