Perdido Street Station is the first novel I’ve read by China Miéville, and the first novel I’ve read in the genre new weird. It was an adventure, I’ll tell you that. A most unexpected one.
When unorthodox scientist Isaac from New Crobuzon is approached by a garuda, a man-bird, with the request to give him back his ability of flight, he is both intrigued and excited. Little does he know what dangers his research will get him into.
I’m going to be honest, I did expect some strange things from a book in the new weird genre, but I wasn’t expecting this much weirdness. Already on the first few pages you find out that the protagonist Isaac is in a non-traditional relationship, but when you find out that his girlfriend has a human body but the head of a scarab, you do a double take. Or at least I did. It’s almost as if the majority of characters in this book are strange (to me, but sometimes also to each other). It was something to get used to, that’s for sure.
That said, I did like the book and the adventures and misadventures Isaac and his buddies/enemies get swept up in. There were some really scary and disgusting parts in this book, that kept me mesmerised and reading, even though in my mind I was screaming. Screaming out of anger, out of fear, out of disgust, and out of worry for these characters who eventually wormed their way into my heart. The humans and the non-humans.
I can’t really go into the details of the plot without spoiling some big surprising events and twists, but I can say that I’ll never look at moths the same again. And after continuously feeling pity for the flightless garuda, Yagharek, the ending was definitely not what I expected for him. You know he’s done something bad – that’s why they took his wings from him – but throughout the book you can only speculate, and through his actions and his thoughts you come to like the guy. So finding out what he did was definitely a shock. And Isaac’s response to that is maybe bitter, maybe cruel, but understandable.