I just finished reading Kraken by China Miéville. I’ve read another work by Miéville, and really enjoyed it, but it’s taken me awhile to get back to his stuff. Kraken took me a while to get through – the writing is excellent, but at first I had trouble buying into Miéville’s world of magic. Por ejemplo:
The Londonmancers had been there since Gogmagog and Corineus, since Mithras and the rest. Like their sibling chapters in other psychopoli, the Paristurges (Dane had carefully pronounced it to Billy French-wise, pareetourdzh), the Warsawtarchs, the Berlinmagi, they had always been ostentatiously neutral. That was how they would survive.
It. It. I just. I just don’t sail through passages like that. But still, there is a rhythm to his writing, a flow that works. It took me a while to get halfway through the book, but once I got there, I was pulled along, quicker and quicker, until I made it to the end. This book was frustrating in the beginning, but I stuck with it, and in the end, though I skimmed many, many words just to get past them, it was a rewarding read. It was meaty and chewy and a little slimey. Just like a good kraken should be.
The book is really, under all the gods and magic, an allegory. Or, a ridiculous number of allegories, rolled into one. It explores the idea that belief creates; by believing in something or that something will happen, it comes into existence. It explores morality, putting characters in situations where they have to choose the lesser of some number of evils. It challenges you, the reader, to root, revolvingly, for different characters as the tale progresses, making you explore your own prejudices. There’s more, there’s more – I should have taken notes! But it’s well worth the time you’ll inevitably take with this thing.