Here’s the elevator pitch for Millstone City: “Two Mormon missionaries stumble into the City of God—-will they survive?”
And that’s a pretty good pitch, but it misrepresents the feel of the book. If you’ve seen City of God you know how terrible and sick its violence makes you feel:
The film offers little comfort to viewers uncomfortableÂ with their own complicity in the on-screen violence, or thoseÂ seeking a ‘ray of hope’ in the narrative. Meirelles introducesÂ alternatives to violence, only to then dismiss or disempowerÂ those alternatives. City of God breaks with audienceÂ expectations by presenting no viable moral choice. TheÂ allegory of the chicken’s Â dilemma—“if you run away theyÂ get you and if you stay they get you too”—illustrates theÂ film’s fatalism, a fatalism that is not only ascribed to Rocket,Â but impressed upon the viewer throughout the film. Â [source]
Millstone City is not a fatalistic novel. Â And so while I’m new to theÂ John Le CarrÃ© game (I just read my first book), I think Bailey’s story of Brazilian gangsters has more in common withÂ Le CarrÃ©’s Cold War spies than City of God orÂ anything else I’ve read or seen recently.