Friday, 21 April 2017
The Last Days of New Paris by China Mieville Review
If you ever wanted to read a book about a guy smelling his own farts for 160 pages, this one’s for you! “Ohh (fart), I’m (fart) China (fart) Mieville and, oooh (fart) I know sooooo (fart) much (fart) about (fart) Surrealism! (FAAAAARRRRTTT)”
Surrealistic art comes to life and starts attacking Nazis in WW2 in China Mieville’s The Last Days of New Paris. That’s both the premise and the “plot” of this steaming pile of book!
This is partly my fault for not reading the blurb and just launching myself straight into it because the utterly stupid premise might have deterred me if I’d looked into it more. Surrealist art coming to life and attacking Nazis. Ok. Why would they attack Nazis? And why only surrealist art - why no other kinds? We’re never told.
But it should be sorta fun, right? It’s not. Art attacks Nazis, the French Resistance attack Nazis and occasionally fend off the art… there’s really no story at all here. In fact there’s really no anything here. Even if you’re not a huge sci-fi fan like me, the bland characters, crap dialogue, dreary descriptions, and zero sense of meaning or purpose to anything are guaranteed to turn you off. It was such a passive reading experience for me - it completely failed to draw me in at all.
I’ve only read one other China Mieville book which was his comic for DC’s New 52 line, Dial H, and that was badly written too (are weird monsters fighting bad guys a theme in all of Mieville’s books?). I think he’s just a terrible writer who has no clue how to tell a story well yet who’s popular for some reason - a description you could apply to unfortunately too many writers these days!
The Last Days of New Paris was the worst novel I’ve read in years. I’m never reading anything by this author again and would strongly urge anyone contemplating this nonsensical swill to read something far more stimulating like a curiously-stained lunch napkin instead. I’m not sure if it was meant to be informative but I learned nothing about the surrealist movement and, rather than cultivate any interest in it, Mieville has ensured I will continue to know next to nothing about it for a long time to come!