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Defector Reads A Book

Defector Reads A Book Has Lined Up A Quick One For February

4:05 PM EST on January 20, 2023

RDB/ullstein bild via Getty Images

We've done two long classics in a row, so the next one up is recent and short: China Miéville's 2016 novella, This Census-Taker.

From what I've gathered, the less I say about this book at the outset, the better your reading experience. As for the writer's overall approach, consult this recent blurb from our resident Miéville freak, Patrick Redford:

I ran into a real problem this year, which is that I allowed myself to build up some serious momentum in working my way through China Miéville's bibliography, momentum that became increasingly impossible to arrest with normal books as his unorthodox sentences and idiosyncratic fixations crowded out everything else in my brain. How could I step away to read the latest Jennifer Egan or whatever once I had read a ridiculously inventive book about the viral possibilities of and pitfalls of teaching aliens to lie, nestled within a sophisticated cosmology and presented in the classic Miévillian format of meeting notes from radical political factions? How would it have been possible to work through a Haruki Murakami novel when The City & The City's unnerving pulse of detective fiction via cosmological communism was right there for me? The only way out was through. 

He hasn't read this one yet, so through we go. To join us, go to your local library, independent bookstore, or Bookshop.org (where you’ll find a list of previous Defector Reads A Book selections and some other staff favorites). Then meet here on Wednesday, February 22. Thanks to all for the Master and Margarita chat; the DRAB crew is heartened by the existence of multiple commenters with tattoos of Behemoth the cat.

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