China Miéville doesn’t stick to just one type of fiction. He mostly writes fantasy but likes to explore different settings and styles and refuses to be nailed down to the confines of a genre. This is a good thing, and I am sincere when I say that I respect it. Unfortunately, it also means that not all of his books work for me, and this one didn’t.
The Last Days of New Paris was about an alternate history Paris where there are still Nazis running around in 1950, sharing the blockaded city with resistance fighters and Surrealist art (manifs) brought to life. Oh, and the Nazis have fought back against the manifs by summoning demons. It’s definitely weird, and somewhat interesting, but I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t think I had sufficient grounding in the history of the movement to fully appreciate the references, so it just seemed surreal and dream-like, which gets a bit tiresome when it lasts the entire book. I also didn’t see the Notes section until I was about halfway through.
It’s possible that I just wasn’t in the right mood and far too tired, so I won’t discount the possibility that my opinion might change after a reread.
Too bad there isn’t a “Surrealism” square for the Halloween Bingo.