" Beauty will be convulsive. . . . "
1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer and occult disciple Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including Surrealist theorist Andre Breton. In the strange games of the dissident diplomats, exiled revolutionaries, and avant-garde artists, Parsons finds and channels hope. But what he unwittingly unleashes is the power of dreams and nightmares, changing the war and the world forever.
1950. A lone Surrealist fighter, Thibaut, walks a new, hallucinogenic Paris, where Nazis and the Resistance are trapped in unending conflict, and the streets are stalked by living images and texts and by the forces of Hell. To escape the city, he must join forces with Sam, an American photographer intent on recording the ruins, and make common cause with a powerful, enigmatic figure of chance and rebellion: the exquisite corpse.
But Sam is being hunted. And new secrets will emerge that will test all their loyalties to each other, to Paris old and new, and to reality itself.
Mieville s] wit dazzles, his humour is lively, and the pure vitality of his imagination is astonishing. Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Guardian"," "on" Three Moments of an Explosion"
Dark and thought-provoking. " The San Diego Union-Tribune"," "on "The City & The City"
Richly conceived. " The New York Times Book Review"," " on "Embassytown"
Mieville more than delivers. " San Francisco Chronicle"," " on "Kraken"
Compulsively readable. " The Washington Post Book World"," "on "Perdido Street Station""
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-05-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Miéville (This Census-Taker) takes on the surrealists in this gritty and erudite fantasy. In 1941, a surrealist bomb exploded in Nazi-occupied Paris, unleashing thousands of manifs—physical manifestations of images taken from surrealist paintings. Some were merely whimsical; others were terrifying and dangerous. Now it’s 1950 and New Paris, as it’s called, is the epicenter of the continuing war. The chaotic city is fought over by Nazis and Parisians, both sides constantly bedeviled by the chaotic manifs. Worse still, the Nazis have made contact with hell and unleashed demons to aid their villainy. Thibault, a soldier in the surrealist cause, fights the Germans using the powers of chaos while attempting to monitor the manifs. While patrolling the city, he observes a manifestation of Carrington’s famous Amateur of Velocipedes and meets Sam, a woman with the unusual plan of photographing all of surrealist New Paris, despite the danger. Thibault soon discovers that Sam is someone much more powerful and dangerous than she seems. Knowledge of surrealist art is not necessary to enjoy this odd, action-filled tale, but it helps. An appendix explains the sources of the dozens of manifs mentioned in the story. Agent: Mic Cheetham, Mic Cheetham Associates Ltd. (U.K.). (Aug.)