SUMMARY Î Unholy Land

CHARACTERS Unholy Land

SUMMARY Î Unholy Land É Lior Tirosh is a semi successful author of pulp fiction an inadvertent time traveler and an ongoing source of disappointment to his fatherTirosh has returned to his homeland in East Africa But Palestina—a Jewish state founded in the early 20th century—has grown dangerous The government is building a vast border wall to keep out AfrLior Tirosh is a semi successful author of pulp fiction an inadvertent time traveler and an ongoing source of disappointment to his fatherTirosh has returned to his homeland in East Africa But Palestina a Jewish state founded in the early 20th century has grown dangerous The government is bu. Lavie Tidhar’s sci fantasies swirl around in a nexus of dreams and memories and imagined realities soaking through pages of pulpy detective potboilers and silver age sci fi brain benders They are also intensely personal perhaps none so than his new novel Unholy Land The novel’s hero a writer named Lior Tirosh bears not only his creator’s initials but seems to have also written all his novels This is typical of Tidhar’s metaphysics where the truth of one reality is the daydream of another In Unholy Land Tirosh travels from Berlin to the Jewish homeland of Palestina in east Africa where he was born and much of his family still lives Not long after he arrives Tirosh finds an old schoolmate murdered in his hotel room His niece also goes missing while protesting the construction of a wall meant to keep refugees out of the country Tirosh confusing himself with the low rent detectives he often writes about “takes the case” His profession isn't the only thing confusing him this reality might not even be the only one he occupies Palestina has real historical precedent Tidhar’s introduction explains how the Zionist Congress had once surveyed land in British East Africa as a proposed solution to Europe’s “Jewish problem” They found the land unsuitable but many years later one surveyor remarked that if they had established a Jewish Homeland there the Holocaust may never have happened With Unholy Land Tidhar slips into the role of Leguin’s George Orr willing one solution to the disaster of history that hydra like sprouts new disasters in its place All the anxiety horror and heartbreak attending the endless cycles of injustice that haunt our world find vivid expression in his works and Unholy Land may cut the deepest Palestina has real historical precedent Tidhar’s introduction explains how the Zionist Congress had once surveyed land in British East Africa as a proposed solution to Europe’s “Jewish problem” They found the land unsuitable but many years later one surveyor remarked that if they had established a Jewish Homeland there the Holocaust may never have happened With Unholy Land Tidhar slips into the role of Leguin’s George Orr willing one solution to the disaster of history that hydra like sprouts new disasters in its place All the anxiety horror and heartbreak attending the endless cycles of injustice that haunt our world find vivid expression in his works and Unholy Land may cut the deepest

Lavie Tidhar ↠ 1 SUMMARY

Ilding a vast border wall to keep out African refugees Unrest in Ararat City is growing And Tirosh’s childhood friend trying to deliver a warning has turned up dead in his hotel room A state security officer has identified Tirosh as a suspect in a string of murders and a rogue agent is sta. I received an ARC of this book from the publishing company Tachyon Publications in exchange for a fair and honest reviewUnholy Land by Lavie Tidhar is a highly inventive mindfuck of a book but one I wish had been fleshed outThe story is set in an Alternate Universe Jewish homeland called 'Palestina' located in East Africa This is based on a real early 20th century plan the Uganda Scheme where a part of British colonised East Africa would be made into a country for Jewish people Lior Tirosh is a SFF pulp fiction author who had emigrated from Palestina to Europe but is now returning Things aren't going well back home tensions are high between the Jews and the Africans with occasional terrorist attacks and a huge wall to keep out refugees under construction When Tirosh finds out his niece who'd been protesting the wall has gone missing he too gets caught up in the larger conflictThis book is a weird twisty mess that I think will be right up a lot of people's alley Although to be honest the twistiness is making this review hard to write partway through the book changes from just Alternate Universe to have sci fi elements and I think it's funner to just go in blind Note the meta elements eg the author's and main character's initials professions and very very broad life stories mirroring each other is deliberate The POVs chosen for the book are also fun There's standard third person for Tirosh and then also a first person from the secret agent shadowing him and a second person later tooHowever putting those elements aside as with most Alternate Universes the similarities and differences to our worlds push the reader off kilter in a delightful way Palestina's bloody relationship with the original inhabitants is depressingly familiar; the kind German nurse with a neat little swastika patch on her uniform is not Nevetheless the world is described convincingly enough that it's easy to slip right inSoon they were stuck in traffic going slow radios blaring outside kwasa kwasa music from the Congo kwaito from Johannesburg and Malawi reggae intermixed with klezmer orchestral music and the latest Europop hit Tirosh took it all in He was home again and it felt goodThematically speaking the book obviously primarily explores the uestion of a Jewish homeland There's empathy for the European Jews of early 20th century Europe but there's eually a sharp critiue of Israel's brutal policies I wouldn't say the conclusions the book draws were particularly eye opening for me but it's definitely intriguing to see how the issue can be explored through SFF As I mentioned above another important uestion is there in part through the meta aspect to what extent can history change through some decision and to what extent are certain paths inevitableHowever although I enjoyed the concepts in this book a lot I felt it needed space to really hit its potential There's a lot of things happening in 288 pages; the climax in particular did not feel as hard hitting as it could have been There's tons of tiny details put in I ended up googling a lot of Jewish history and mysticism basically everything mentioned is real in that sense not made up by Tidhar But I think it would have been great to see all of it from the slightly abrupt plot developments to the theme exploration to those tiny allusions get a bit  space to breatheAltogether this is a very concept and theme oriented work and the concept is strong enough that I recommend checking it out I recommend the book especially for Fans of Alternate Universe books Can this book be considered New Weird It gave me some New Weird vibes anyway Fans of China Mieville's The City the City People interested in Jewish history and mysticism Fans of noir mysteries  

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Unholy LandLking Tirosh through transdimensional rifts possible futures that can only be prevented by avoiding the mistakes of the pastFrom the bestselling author of Central Station comes an extraordinary new novel recalling China Miéville and Michael Chabon entertaining and subversive in eual measure. Review first published at The Curious SFF Reader Lior Tirosh a not so famous pulp fiction writer who’s never published something of note decides to go back to his homeland to take care of his ill father Palestina a small Jewish state established a few decades back near Uganda has changed a lot in the last twenty years he was awayFrom the airplane Tirosh can clearly see the wall being built in order to separate Palestina from Uganda keeping Palestinians isolated from African refugees However when he lands strange things start to happen from the border control where an agent keeps on asking if he’s brought anything from the outside to the odd woman who seems to be following him to the fact a man he hasn’t seen in twenty years found a way to die in his hotel room However before doing so his former friend has the time to tell him that Tirosh’s niece a girl he barely remembers from before has disappeared And that it has something to do with the construction of the wall and fading borders between realitiesTirosh decides to “take the case” as would do his main character from his detective stories He starts traveling in Palestina and in his own past in the memories he once had of a land who might never had been navigating the thin border between past present and what ifsWhat starts off as a novel deeply grounded in our reality where terrorist attacks happen in faraway countries and are reported by bored journalists days after days subtly evolves in a mosaiue of might have beens and impossible realities all linked together by the protagonist’s journeyIt all begins with an historical anecdote an expedition that could have prevented the murder of millions of people What if Palestina was established in Africa and WWII never happenedHowever Unholy Land is not solely about that it’s also a love letter to the land we consider home It’s about people belonging to a territory and how this attachment to a piece of Earth is at the center of many conflicts It follows the conseuences of preventing people from reaching a certain land It can be applied to any wall separating a place from “outsiders” people who don’t belong for a reason or another it could be set in Korea Mexico Israel or anywhere where walls are buit as bordersIn this world where people can jump form a reality to another from futures where lands are devastated by wars or still populated by dinosaurs Unholy Land follows people as they tries their best to belong even in places where everyone see them as foreigners One of the main character is an agent whose job is to protect his country from outsiders Those people may be from other realities or just refugees seeking a safer place He is not likeable character but in his mind he’s doing the right thing He’s not looking to purposefully hurt people he just wants to protect what he considers his He’s in fact not even from the land he wants to protect In a way he protects it from people like himUnholy Land is a love story to your home and how people are mesmerized by it It’s also about our sense of belonging and loss how life can be different from what you expected from it It can be because you never achieved what you wanted like Tirosh who never managed to touch the world with his novels as much as his father did with weapons or because you just feel like you weren’t born in the right country or at the right place at the right moment It’s rooted in our current reality while being completely set in anotherIt is Tirosh’s or Tidhar’s own journey through memory lane as he’s fleeing from his own past to other worlds while impersonating his own creation The writing is magnificent as you would expect from Lavie Tidhar You can smell and taste the different cities feel the nostalgia and sorrow for a country that never was and relate with characters that are completely at odds with you It follows three characters jump from narration styles to narration styles and from timelines to timelines yet it never feels messy or jaringIf you enjoyed Central Station you’ll recognize Tidhar’s beautiful prose and lush imagination If you never read one of his works and you are looking for an unconventional book something you haven’t read a hundred times before give this book a shot Unholy Land is without a doubt one of the best book I read this year and one I will revisit numerous times in the future Highly highly recommended My thanks to Tachyon Publications for the digital advance reader copy All opinions are of course my own