Zanna and her friend Deeba have been noticing a lot of strange events lately. There was the fox that intently watched them on the playground and then bowed to Zanna. Certainly the oddest was the umbrella that dragged itself from a rubbish heap to hang from Zanna’s bedroom windowsill. The girls give chase to the umbrella and find themselves in a strange place called Un Lun Dun, a funhouse version of their own city. This new place is filled with animated milk cartons, unbrellas, talking books and flying double-decker buses, as well as with an odd collection of people.
Shortly after their arrival in Un Lun Dun they meet Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is a massive pin-cushion, and Brokkenbroll, king of broken unbrellas. Zanna is disturbed to find out she’s the Shwazzy – the Chosen One – prophesied to save Un Lun Dun from a great evil, the Smog.
All goes terribly wrong when Zanna is injured soon after their arrival. She’s returned safely home but Un Lun Dun seems doomed. Deeba may be the only hope for this fantastical city, but will Un Lun Dun accept the help or the unchosen one, or lie down and accept its fate?
Award-winning author China Miéville’s fifth novel, Un Lun Dun, is his first written for the young adult market and is filled with his illustrations of the mysterious creatures met by Zanna and Deeba. While this book is being marketed to middle and high school students, there is much here to recommend this book to adult readers. Fans of the films of Jan Švankmajer, specifically his 1988 film Alice, will find familiar elements in the world of Un Lun Dun.
Miéville, as well-known for his politics as for his writing, is a member of the Socialist Workers Party. His writing has indications of his political leanings; however, he has stated that: “…when I write my novels, I’m not writing them to make political points.…but because I come at this with a political perspective, the world that I’m creating is embedded with many of the concerns that I have…”
Un Lun Dun is sure to win Miéville many new fans and delight current ones.
Read the review at Armchair Interviews.
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Publication Date: February 17, 2007