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I love mustelid haberdashery, vinho verde wine, and wensleydale with fruit.


Osama - Lavie Tidhar

I am having the hardest time processing this book.

Basic plot?
Joe is a detective. He's living and working in Laos when a mysterious woman comes to him and asks him to find an author. Someone who is writing about a fictional vigilante named Osama bin Laden. Chances are, if you've gotten to my review, you already know that.

This world is an alternate reality (maybe). It's a very classic detective noir novel (maybe), with your typical cardboard cut out detective stereotype (maybe), and standard cardboard bad guys (maybe), and a standard mystery to be solved. Maybe.

It's about life and choices and difficulties and realities. Maybe. It's definitely written in a way that can be hard to grasp, hard to get into. This is not a character driven novel. This is a world driven novel. This is a reality driven novel.

I will say that this is a book that needs to be read in one or two sittings. This book needs quiet, it needs contemplation, it needs focus, it needs thought. I was trying to read it in my usual 20 minute gulps on the bus, but things would get so convoluted I'd have to backtrack several pages to re-read and figure my way back into the story. So I quit, read something fluffy on the bus and waited for the one day when I could just focus, breathe, and read.

I think Lavie Tidhar is a very interesting, and maybe, amazing author. He plays with the language and sentence structure in a way that I notice, and it upsets my processing, the way the world in the novel changes and upsets my processing. He ties the writing in with the story, and I have not seen that done successfully (for me) very often. Bravo.

He gets an A-plus-plus for making an amazingly atmospheric novel, something I expect from a World Fantasy Award.

I think he could have been a little less heavy handed. I felt that the novel was very deliberate, but I also feel like it was a bit too heavy handed. Some things didn't need to be subtle, but I could have lived without a few anvils.

But I'm still not sure what the hell to think of this one. It's uncomfortable, and I'm pretty sure it was written to be that way. This book is not clean, it's not tidy, it's not wrapped in a beautiful little package that will let you not think/stop thinking and walk away.

And some of it is painful, and some of it is cute, and I believe absolutely all of it was very deliberate. And very well done. But I don't know what star rating I should give this book, because while I believe it to be a "good" book, and I believe the writing to be awesome. I'm not sure I "liked" it at all.