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Book Review: ‘Looking for Jake’ by China Mieville

‘Looking for Jake’ is Mieville’s first collection of shorter works, netted in from the last seven or eight years of work he’s had published. It’s quite diverse within the scope of horror and fantasy writing, ranging from edgey stories of urban paranoia (‘An End to Hunger’), through ‘mystery package’ stories a la Jorge Luis Borges, but beginning and ending in what I take to be the same cataclysm of London shown in two pieces, a story and a novella (‘Looking for Jake’ and ‘The Tain’). There is also a short but messy tale of revenge among the underworld of Mieville’s best-known creation, New Crobuzon (‘Jack’).

An enjoyable collection, but in my opinion he writes better at novel length. These tales are good, but not scintillating, but this is forgivable seeing as there are few writers who can excel at both shorts and novels. One for the fans, but maybe not the best intro for a newbie.