China Miéville was the star turn at the Edinburgh International Book festival

There’s a fictional quality to the closeted environment of the Edinburgh International Book festival. For two weeks, Charlotte Square is fortified with a circle of portable buildings and Spiegeltents, creating a safe space for a fantasy of literary culture to flourish without undue interference from the outside world. It’s a fantasy taking place in the daydreams of a seventysomething retired English lecturer, and The Book is its key signifier. The Book as object, as specks of ink splattered on decaying vegetable matter, tenaciously clinging to the bookshop shelf as the internet gushes forth its infinite flood of blogposts, status updates and indie-published ebooks.

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