Does EMBASSYTOWN have a happy ending? (Spoilers!)
January 3, 2013 1:43 AM   Subscribe

China Miéville's EMBASSYTOWN: does it have a 'happy' ending? [Spoilers inside!]

I've loved China Miéville's books, but I'm not up for too much grimdark at the moment. So if PERDIDO STREET STATION is too unhappy for me, and THE SCAR and IRON COUNCIL might be a bit more cheerful, should I read EMBASSYTOWN right now? (Ideal answers have no spoilers: "yes" "no". Non-ideal answers have spoilers: "I don't know, there's a big reveal when Fred gets killed - is that too sad for you?" [NB: I do not know if there is a character called Fred.])
posted by alasdair to Writing & Language (11 answers total)
The ending of Embassytown isn't grim. But Railsea is a much less grim book overall.
posted by neushoorn at 2:04 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's happy by Mieville standards. At least, it's not a grim ending. It's pretty rough in the middle.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:06 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yes. It's happy/positive/good.
posted by Jimbob at 2:57 AM on January 3, 2013

Great! Thank you all. I shall set to!
posted by alasdair at 3:23 AM on January 3, 2013

Not a completely happy ending -- Mieville doesn't do conventional happy endings, and this is quite tragic in some ways, definitely a loss of innocence -- but it won't leave you in despair.
posted by verstegan at 4:11 AM on January 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yes. It's happy/positive/good.

I wouldn't oversell it, but it's not a meathook future either. Embassytown is a think piece primarily; it won't leave you ruined at the end.
posted by gerryblog at 5:18 AM on January 3, 2013

Oh, and if you love Mieville but don't want grimdark, totally check out Un Lun Dun. It's his first YA novel but still solid and readable as an adult, with the usual Mieville world-building fun but a significant reduction in soul-crushing inhumanity.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:15 AM on January 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Good lord, I don't think anything Mieville has written anything as utterly soul destroying as Perdito St Station. That said, Embassytown is a bit of a stylistic departure and is a very, very different sort of book entirely.

Un Lun Dun is brilliant, cheerful but still twisted in the right places. I'd go for that over Embassytown for books that read like a Mieville without being a heart destroyer. Same with Railsea. It's really, really good, and while it has its nadir, it ends very well indeed.
posted by Jilder at 7:34 AM on January 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Huh. I didn't think it had a happy ending at all, but then I also liked it least of all his books. I thought it was kind of particularly grim and while it's been a year since I read it, I didn't take the ending as very "happy times are here again, la la." Guarded optimism at best and there's a lot of trauma to go through to even get to that point. If you want fun Mieville, check out Kraken. I love that book.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:09 AM on January 3, 2013

Embassytown's ending is def. not a total downer, but I agree that either Kraken or Railsea (which has a bit of a YA slant) would be more chipper.
posted by thomas j wise at 2:23 PM on January 3, 2013

I found Embassytown to have an unhappy ending - in fact, it soured me on what had been, I thought, an otherwise good book. Your mileage may vary.
posted by corb at 3:40 PM on January 4, 2013

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