: New: Book Report: The Last Days of New Paris

In a fantastic alternate-reality World War II Paris, magicians summon works of art into the real world. Our protagonist is a war-weary Surrealist in magical pajamas with an affinity for Exquisite Corpses.

In real life, Exquisite Corpses are Surrealist with multiple artists: Someone would make the top of a sketch, and fold over the paper; someone else would fill in the middle of the sketch, though they couldn't see much of the top and then they'd fold the paper again; finally, a third artist would finish the sketch, drawing the bottom. In this book, Exquisite Corpses are like that except come to life in the world and wreaking havoc on Nazis.

This novella has something of the disjoint nature of Surrealist art: from chapter to chapter, it jumps around in time and in viewpoint.

Thinking about exquisite corpses, I find myself wishing that the author had collaborated with a couple of other authors. The book's protagonist is a radical, as you'd expect in a China MiĆ©ville work. But he's also beaten-down and guilt-ridden about events in his past, making his way through a world with interesting magic that follows rules; Tim Powers could have written about that quite nicely. For a third author… I dunno, maybe someone who writes a lot about WWII? Anyhow.

A fun quick read.

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