Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel

The weasel lies heavy

Osama Bin Laden, a novel - Lavie Tidhar

I liked this, which as you know is rare. As you know I tend to regard anything beyond a book's title as being a spoiler but I shall try to resist that and say something about it.

The echoes of The Man In The High Castle are clear and deliberate. It is set in an alternative world which is less violent than ours but also less technologically advanced. In this world Osama Bin Laden is the anti-hero of a series of pulp novels, which we know, but people in the world of the novel don't, are based on real events in our world e.g. 9/11, 7/7, the Iraq War. The hero, Joe, is an underemployed private eye living in Laos, a woman commissions him to find Mike Longshott, the author of the Osama books. Joe travels to Paris, London and New York in search of clues as to the whereabouts of Longshott. He is pursued by mysterious men in black. The end would perhaps have been a disappointment if one hadn't read The Man In The High Castle and recognised the echoes.

Although good, the tone is perhaps slightly uneven, at the beginning the differences between the world and ours are described quite subtly, it made the hairs on my neck stand on end at one point, but it becomes jokier as the book progresses.

I was also reminded on some level, tone more than anything, of There Are Doors by Gene Wolfe, which I must admit (at cost of being drummed out of police society) the only Wolfe I really liked.

[I was also reminded fairly strongly of something else, but to say what would be a spoiler]

Anyway, I commend it to you.

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