Thursday, July 15, 2010

China Miéville Interviewed (Elsewhere)

While I know that I've already done an "Interviewed (Elsewhere)" for Miéville, I found the new interview too interesting to not bring up. Throughout it, we learn quite a bit about Kraken, and, while the whole thing is a must read if you enjoyed or are curious about that novel, the first question was probably the most interesting part for me:

The A.V. Club: The City & The City came across as a careful, tightly controlled book. Kraken, on the other hand, feels much more like an eruption.

China Miéville: [Laughs.] I was wondering how you might gloss that over. Kraken is a very undisciplined book. That’s a gamble. If it doesn’t come off, it’s disastrous. But there are pleasures, I think, to a meandering lack of discipline that you can’t get the other way, and vice versa. You gain something and you lose something. My second book, Perdido Street Station, was the one that a lot of people really, really liked, and it was tremendously sort of rumbustious and ill-disciplined. I feel like I’ve been getting increasingly disciplined since then, and some readers seem to miss that kind of amiable chaos. What I wanted to do with Kraken is tap into what you’ve kindly called an eruption. I wanted to indulge that. It does have a very different feel than The City & The City. It obviously won’t work for everyone, but I always think about books like—and I don’t mean this hubristically—Gravity’s Rainbow. If Gravity’s Rainbow is anything, it’s kind of this dreamlike meander. The idea of saying to Pynchon, “You know, you need to tighten this up,” it would destroy it. Kraken was an effort to tap into that same kind of pleasurable ramble. In some ways, Kraken is more like Perdido, whereas The City & The City was a departure. It’s the kind of thing I’d like to do a lot more of. In some ways, this was getting back to what I was better known for.

That description vocalized a lot of what I feel about Kraken. Like with every novel the man's written, the book impressed me, in this case by not having a few interesting elements and building a story around them, but rather flooding the reader with a never-ending deluge of the weird and bizarre that threatened to drown (me, at the least) under its weight. I also found the comparison with Gravity's Rainbow very interesting, not just because I happen to be wrapping up that very text, but because both are novels of excess that are still, somehow, controlled, and both have to be viewed, at least to some degree, by scaling back the chaos in your mind and sorting out the elements one by one.

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