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The City in the Middle of the Night

de Charlie Jane Anders

Outros autores: K. Tempest Bradford (Sensitivity reader)

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
7503222,222 (3.73)25
""If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams . . . And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives." The bestselling author of All the Birds in the Sky returns with a strange, haunting, and deeply human tale. Sophie serves coffee at an underground cafe. She stays in the shadows and listens to the troubles of the parlor guests, but does not draw attention to herself for one simple reason: Sophie is supposed to be dead. When a nationalistic revolution forces Sophie from her safe haven, she must make a dangerous journey to a new city, one that revels in hedonism and chaos. After joining up with a band of smugglers, she finds herself on a long and treacherous path that will lead her far closer to the truth of her entire world---and to the dangers that lurk even in the light of day" --… (mais)
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» Veja também 25 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 32 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Part of how they make you obey is by making obedience seem peaceful, while resistance is violent. But really, either choice is about violence, one way or another.

This review can also be found on my blog.

This was such a strange book that felt almost needlessly complicated in some aspects. I could tell that Anders was extremely into her world building but I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief for some aspects of it. It reminded me a bit of Amatka: a society filled with unyielding rules. The comparisons largely end there, though.

I never felt strongly connected to any of the characters. Sophie didn’t feel solid enough as a pov character; she never really bypassed concept into full-fledged character for me and I didn’t feel like she had much agency. I struggled similarly with Mouth, who started off as a caricature and morphed into something softer that I didn’t quite understand. I just never felt fully convinced by either of them. The dialogue itself, while largely good, felt stilted in some parts. There were random scenes where I thought, “no one talks like that.”

I really struggled with the message of the story for a bit. It sort of felt like it was trying to push too many storylines together at once. If it was expanded into a series this would have made more sense, but as is it had a kind of claustrophobic feel to it. My mind was constantly dragged in several different directions and I wasn’t really sure what to expect next, but not necessarily in a good way.

I did really admire the way this tackled toxic relationships. Sophie is deeply in love with her best friend Bianca, although seemingly unable to admit it to herself. Bianca is privileged, self-centered, and blind to anything that doesn’t impact her directly. It was frustrating watching Sophie return to Bianca over and over, but it also makes sense in the context of their relationship (until their last meeting — that didn’t make sense to me).

Regardless of my criticisms, this was highly readable and I hope people will still give it a shot. I hit points where I just didn’t want to put the book down because the writing was so compelling and I really wanted to see what would happen next. It’s a good book, but I think cutting down a little would have gone a long way.

Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Ko-fi ( )
  samesfoley | Jun 18, 2021 |
I really enjoyed the world building here, though I wasn't as impressed by the overall story, or by the characters. ( )
  duchessjlh | Apr 10, 2021 |
The world building that encases this story is exquisite. I can sense where the author has had to pull away in places to let the characters have their own life that is informed by this unique world. While to some the story my evolve too slowly, I relished in the slow geological unfolding of story and place combined. I also like the author's subtle approach at the cultural forces of art/creation versus political power.

If these things intrigue you, then I recommend you pick this book up and read. ( )
  nekrekab | Mar 10, 2021 |
Anders is a very clever writer, with fabulous use of language, and immersive world-building. Unfortunately, I loathe their characters. Well written, but just horrible people, and I spend so much time not wanting to be anywhere near them that this book took me months to read. ( )
  fred_mouse | Jan 24, 2021 |
I loved this book from the first page, but it still took me a while to finish. It isn't one of those intense reads that you have to finish to find out what happens, it's more like you keep going back to it because the world is interesting and you want to spend more time there.

It reminds me of Ursula LeGuin or Margaret Atwood. The kind of SF that's mostly about building a world, not with one or two wild facts, but in painstaking, delicate detail. The city where it opens has no days or nights, because the planet is tidally locked: that's a fact. The detail is all in how this has affected the culture, how obsessed with keeping track of time everyone is. Because when there's no time, you have to create time. (Relatable to me, reading this in late March 2020, with no work or school to break up the days. Suddenly I'm desperate to remind myself of the date and time, because I can't subconsciously know, like I can when I'm on the clock.) But that time obsession ends up being a kind of slavery, so there's also a cafe where everyone has to check their watches at the door and try to be apart from time for a little while. There's also a city with no time at all, later on in the book, and nobody knows when to go to sleep. And, of course, the alien creatures are the most interesting thing. It's a whole world in sharp-edged detail.

There is a plot, or several plots. Characters are working through their problems and eventually, they work through those problems in large enough ways to affect the whole world. But . . . none of that really felt like the point. The plotline I cared about was a single relationship, one that seemed doomed from the start. The whole time I kept hoping and hoping I was wrong. But so afraid I was right, I had to keep taking breaks from the book.

This is good stuff, highly recommend. It's not the usual thing, though. It's not an action novel, although there's a little action (mainly to set up heartfelt confessions). It's about cultures, mainly, what they mean to us and what they make us into. ( )
  jennelikejennay | Dec 31, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 32 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
This is a long novel, and it’s not in a hurry to get where it’s going. Anders’s plotting isn’t thin, exactly; it’s just that storyline isn’t what she finds most interesting. Instead she draws the reader into the socio-political detail of her imagined world ... This is a millennial’s novel, featuring young people trying to make their way through an uncaring, corrupt and intermittently violent world. If this middle-aged reviewer found it sometimes hard to like the dramatis personae, that doubtless says more about the gap between real-world generations than about the novel. Though sometimes judgmental and self-righteous, Anders’s characters are also emotionally sophisticated and passionate, and this is heartfelt and absorbing fiction.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarThe Guardian (UK), Adam Roberts (Feb 22, 2019)
 
Anders... has given us an original protagonist in the awkward and open Sophie, who feels an otherness to her core. Her love for Bianca is as pure as it is misplaced. Readers will recognize their own Biancas in this story, as well as their own personal tragedies. The City in the Middle of the Night may be set light-years away, but it’s likely to hit too close to home.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarPaste, Josh Jackson (Feb 19, 2019)
 
I never thought I would describe a book as painting a story entirely in different shades of anxiety, but Anders nails the feelings of claustrophobia, fear of acceptance, inferiority and loss of identity all in the span of 360 pages ... The City in the Middle of the Night does not end cleanly, and perhaps it’s fitting that a story so well grounded in realistic and relatable protagonists ends with such an unsatisfying tilt. In this novel, Anders has lovingly crafted a unique world, and finishes with a wild twist that left me endlessly interested in the next book of the series.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarBook Page, Ralph Harris (Feb 12, 2019)
 
Anders weaves an intricate tale of colonialism and evolution on both physical and social levels. The harsh world and well-developed characters combine with stunning storytelling that will capture readers' minds and hearts.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarLibrary Journal, Kristi Chadwick (Jan 2, 2019)
 
Watching Sophie come into her own and gradually (and almost too late) realize that the Bianca she loves doesn’t exist is inevitable, sad, and, eventually, empowering ... Anders contains multitudes; it’s always a fascinating and worthwhile surprise to see what she comes up with next.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarKirkus Reviews (Nov 26, 2018)
 

» Adicionar outros autores (5 possíveis)

Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Charlie Jane Andersautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Bradford, K. TempestSensitivity readerautor secundáriotodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Krissof, LianaCopy editorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Smith, MarkArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stafford-Hill, JamieDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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For my mom, who taught me about colonialism, and my dad, who taught me about human nature.
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Bianca walks toward me, under too much sky.
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To join with others to shape a future is the holiest act.
Mouth took a deep, miraculous breath. “When I thought you were dead, I was planning one hell of a wake. I was going to get so drunk I’d never see straight again.” Alyssa snorted. “I never got a chance to drink to you being dead either. Your wake was going to be incredible: those gross cakes you always liked, fancy high-end liquor, plus maybe some little kids who could sing and pretend to be sad.” “Your wake would have been way better than that,” Mouth said. “I was going to set a few dozen firebombs all over town, in honor of your career as a child arsonist. Heaps of food. Including those disgusting cactus-pork crisps. Liters of swamp vodka. The whole town would have passed out.” “Fuck off. Your wake would have been the best wake in the history of wakes.” Alyssa poked Mouth’s leg. “Flowers and parades and flamethrowers, and I would have given a whole speech about how you were too dumb to live, but too fuck-faced to die of stab wounds or gunshots, like everyone else.” As she spoke, Alyssa leaned forward and put one arm around Mouth’s uninjured shoulder and leaned on her chest, with care. Mouth heard a sigh of almost unbearable tenderness. “Your wake would have ended with a thousand more people dead,” Mouth said. “Pffft. Your wake would have been an extinction-level event.” Alyssa moved closer, until all of Mouth’s uninjured parts were swathed in arms and legs. “But now I guess we’ll just have to drink to being alive, like boring people.” They fell asleep tangled in each other, like old times.
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""If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams . . . And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives." The bestselling author of All the Birds in the Sky returns with a strange, haunting, and deeply human tale. Sophie serves coffee at an underground cafe. She stays in the shadows and listens to the troubles of the parlor guests, but does not draw attention to herself for one simple reason: Sophie is supposed to be dead. When a nationalistic revolution forces Sophie from her safe haven, she must make a dangerous journey to a new city, one that revels in hedonism and chaos. After joining up with a band of smugglers, she finds herself on a long and treacherous path that will lead her far closer to the truth of her entire world---and to the dangers that lurk even in the light of day" --

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