It’s like China wanted to write a police procedural, a detective story. But being China, there was no way it could be set in the quotidian world of today.

Which is great.. The setup here is that there are two cities, Besźel an Ul Qoma, somewhere in Eastern Europe; but they both occupy the same space. People in on can’t interact with those in the other.

That’s about as much as I knew about it before I started.

In another way it feels it’s kind of an extended metaphor for how we don’t notice things that are right under our noses. Or, as my beloved said, just for how we can live in a city like London alongside people from other cultures, people who look and dress differently, who even move differently; and never interact with them

This is both good and bad, of course. Or can be both or either depending on the circumstances. Because we’re ignoring other people, whole swathes of them. The live their lives, full, rich, desperate, happy, sad; and we know nothing of them. They know nothing of us. Yet we don’t get in their way. We don’t interfere with them. We let them get on with their lives, and they us with ours, not causing them problems, as they cause us none.

Or only the most minor of inconveniences as we avoid each other on the street.

But is there even a third city, co-terminal with the two we know about? Some believe there is. Does Orciny exist?

You’ll have to read it to find out.