I’ve been meaning to do a post about Lavie Tidhar’s fascinating and hypnotic Osama, from PS Publishing, and all kinds of things have gotten in the way, from dental surgery to sickness to deadlines. But with the holidays fast upon us, I’m blogging it now in brief at least—although it deserves better—so if you’ve missed it, you can consider buying it for yourself or for others.
Below the cut I’ve posted the publisher’s description of the novel, which is slipstreamy and sly and affecting. One thing not mentioned in reviews is how effective Tidhar handles the short chapters that comprise Osama. They’re not punchy or underwritten—they’re just right and with few words wasted. He’s also quite good in his characterization of Joe, the main character. The writing is beautiful without being fussy, cluttered, or overly lyrical.
“In a world without global terrorism Joe, a private detective, is hired by a mysterious woman to find a man: the obscure author of pulp fiction novels featuring one Osama Bin Laden: Vigilante…”
“Joe’s quest to find the man takes him across the world, from the backwaters of Asia to the European Capitals of Paris and London, and as the mystery deepens around him there is one question he is trying hard not to ask: who is he, really, and how much of the books is fiction? Chased by unknown assailants, Joe’s identity slowly fragments as he discovers the shadowy world of the refugees, ghostly entities haunting the world in which he lives. Where do they come from? And what do they want? Joe knows how the story should end, but even he is not ready for the truths he’ll find in New York and, finally, on top a quiet hill above Kabul—nor for the choice he will at last have to make…
“In Osama, Lavie Tidhar brilliantly delves into the post-9/11 global subconscious, mixing together elements of film noir, non-fiction, alternative history and international thriller to create an unsettling—yet utterly compelling—portrayal of our times.”