pondělí 15. srpna 2011

China Miéville: Un Lun Dun (Un Lun Dun)

    I was in the Municipal Library with Awaris once and I found one of Miéville’s books. I told her it looked quite interesting and she replied that she has already read most of his work. Well, I don’t understand when she found the time for it but OK (it’s obvious she has a time machine and is too mean to share her secret with humanity). I really wanted to read some of his books and I finally had time for it and I loved it.
   It’s kind of Alice in Wonderland but modern and in urban settings. Two girls – Deeba and Zanna – accidentally enter UnLondon – a weird version of London where all things that become moil (mildly obsolete in London) or broken come and continue their lives. Unfortunately, UnLondon is threatened by the Smog – a cloud of effluvia (effluvia…that’s a cool word) which gradually gained consciousness. Zanna finds out that she’s the Schwazzy which is English transcription of choisi – chosen one (I will overcome my urge to correct everyone and do as if I have overlooked the fact that it should be choisie). The two girls are told to go to the Propheseers who should tell them what to do and help the Schwazzy to beat the Smog. When they arrive to the Propheseers’ bridge (after a trip in a flying bus and jumping across 2 metre high roofs) they meet the Book (basically, a big talking volume with inclination to deep depressions) and Brokkenbroll – the master of broken umbrellas. He and Benjamin Unstible – a Propheseers who everyone thought was dead – change old broken umbreallas into unbrellas – weapons against the Smog. But it doesn’t take long before things go very differently from what the prophecies say and it slowly turns out that unLondon might be rather in need of an unchosen one rather than the chosen (who will also need help – the too much talkative book, a half-ghost and a cuddly milk box).
   One thing I liked about this book is Miéville’s language. He is probably one of a few authors whose description didn’t bore me to death (it is quite difficult to be boring when you create a world where houses are built from old writing machines…but anyway). He uses a little difficult or less known words (not sure why, maybe it’s like Lemony Snicket who always puts in a definition of the word…Miéville is just for a little older readers…it’s a YA book). And he makes up his own words. Like binjas. I liked binjas. They are bins but also ninjas. Binjas kick ass. Language and language games are one of things which makes is so much like Alice in Wonderland. For example, the heroes enter the land of Mr Speaker who is the only one allowed to speak in Talklands. And every word he pronounces takes on physical existence (and crawls out of his mouth…yuk). He is complete control over them until…well, until Deeba says this:

“Well,” said Deeba, “don’t think word do what anyone tells them all the time.”
Hemi was looking at her with at least as much bewilderment on his face as Mr Speaker had.
“What are you on about?” Hemi said.
Deeba paused to admire about, an utterling like a living spiderweb.
“Words don’t always mean what we want them to,” she said. “None of us Not even you.” The room was quiet. Al the people and things in it were listening.
“Like…if someone shouts, “Hey, you!” at someone in the street, but someone else turns around. The words misbehaved. They didn’t call the person they were meant to. Or if you see someone at a party and they’re wearing something mad, and you say, “That’s some outfit!” and they think you’re being rude, u you meant it really.”
“Or…like if someone says something’s bad and people think they mean bad bad and they mean good bad. Or…” Deeba giggled, remembering one of the Blyton books her mother gave had given her, saying she had enjoyed it when she was Deeba’s age. “Or like that old book wit a girl’s name that just sounds rude now.”
The utterlings were twitching and staring at her. Mr Speaker was flinching. He looked sick.
(Unfortunately, Enid Blyton wrote like zillion books, so I didn’t find out which one Deeba speaks about).

   Another great thing about this books how imaginative it is. Mr Speaker is an example of it but there are piles and piles of great ideas (yeah, just like in Carroll). Well, long story short, it is a very good book if you’re looking for something funny and witty and you are in no mood for discovering the dark corners of human soul. I rest my case, just read it.
   Oh…one more thing. If you meet a giraffe…in night…and there are no bars between you and it…just run.

1 komentářů:

Awaris řekl(a)...

No, I've read ALL of his fiction. Except I haven't posted about Kraken yet.
Also - I probably wouldn't have, had I started with Un Lun Dun... exactly because it's so YA - fun, but the Bas-Lag novels are so much better.
Glad you loved it, though! (4 and a half wolves, wow)