I was crossing borders when I read The City & the City, taking the journey home to my parents’ house in north-west France by plane and train from where I live in Berlin. It was the first time I had done that journey; my first Christmas after moving to the once famously divided German capital. A friend had sent me a copy of China Miéville’s book and there was something about the shadowy cover that made it look like the perfect companion for a trek through the cold and snow.
At the time, I knew nothing about Miéville nor his work. But if I looked up at all from it on that trip home, it was to utter an dumb-struck ‘Huh!’ at the frozen landscape, before swiftly diving back into the story of Inspector Tyador Borlú’s murder investigation in a city—or cities—like no other.