I picked this book up because a) it was on display at Space-Crime, and I've come to trust their judgment a lot b) it had a split pomegranate with bees as the cover picture and c) one of the blurbs told me to take some Dark Tower, mix it with Mieville and add a dash of Beardsley (as well someone else I don't know). And, for frosting, the back cover blurb used the phrase "art infects life" and i'm all about the disease metaphors and the border-crossings, and another blurb mentioned Calvino and Borges.This book had eight words I wasn't certain I knew the right definition of. Sometimes it's hard for me to figure out if I know a word, if i know the roots of a word, or if i'm just assuming i know it from context. (Mech said the sweetest thing when i told him that i was reading a book that had seven words i didn't know, about the chances of any book that had that many words i didn't know, at least one of them had to be made up.) Turns out I knew three solid, three mostly, one not at all, and i one i was completely wrong on.and as loathe as i am to admit weakness of any kind, much less of vocabulary, here in no particular order, are the words i wrote in the back of the book to look up at my leisure.quotidian, desuetude, ophidian, theophany, ekphrastic, badinage, quiddity, strigiform.I think this book is as more easily digestible trip into the fantastic bizarre. It begins balancing delicately on the contrived, with a physician and a gunslinger (their word, not mine) traveling in company, but quickly escapes that when they arrive at a city that takes them in entirely different directions, only to brush up against each other (or the consequences of the other's actions) periodically.In a rare turn of events, I'm going to quote the last two paragraph here. I don't think they spoil any part of the reading whatsoever, they simply sum up the texture of the novel beautifully."It remains to note that in Ashamoil, during the regime of the Floating Generals, at the time of the dry season when the maculate horn vines blossom in the city, something unprecedented swam in the Skamander. It flopped up onto the quay; the body of a huge crocodile with the head of a man. It reared on its stumpy back legs and showed the lotus growing out of its scaly belly, and proclaimed itself to be a god. It said nothing more, for a single shot through its forehead killed it instantly. The marksman was never located, and when the bullet was retrieved it was found to be of a type that had not been made in the last three hundred years.The monster was embalmed and put in the Natural History Museum. Shortly after its installation, a vandal cut off its head."