The Last Days of New Paris

China Miéville

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2017 Nominee

Locus Award Best Fantasy Novel

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23 February 2017
9781447296560
0 pages
Synopsis

Weaving together the historical and the imagined, China Miéville's The Last Days of New Paris is a surreal and extraordinary work, from the author of The City & The City.

1941. In the chaos of wartime Marseille, American engineer and occult disciple Jack Parsons stumbles onto a clandestine anti-Nazi group, including Surrealist theorist André Breton. In the strange games of 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 for ever.

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, Thibaut 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.

A dazzling scholarly fantasy . . . The bestiary of surrealist manifs, or manifestations, that Miéville parades before us is dazzling . . . the effect is exhilaratingly precise and serious, as though Albert Camus had rewritten Raiders of the Lost Ark . . . At the story’s climax it turns out to be satisfyingly horrible, but not as bad as what follows – a brilliantly eerie apparition that it would be invidious to reveal here . . . This intense, scholarly fantasy speaks to our age.

Guardian

Treading the line between beauty and horror, history and fantasy, Miéville filters a clash of art and philistinism through the medium of wartime spy fiction. This dense, clever book’s flights of fancy are grounded in details such as “a miraculously uneaten cat” dashing for cover, the whole thing rounded off with a knowing satirical wink.

Financial Times