La révélation de la science-fiction israélienne
Berlin. Lior Tirosh, écrivain raté et désillusionné, embarque pour la Palestina, son pays natal, fuyant une existence minée d’échecs. Il espère retrouver à Ararat City la chaleur du foyer mais la ville est désormais ceinturée par un mur immense, et sa nièce, Déborah, a disparu dans les camps de réfugiés africains. Traqué, soupçonné de meurtre, offert en pâture à un promoteur véreux, Lior est entraîné malgré lui dans les dédales d’une histoire qu’il contribue pourtant à écrire.
Published in North America and in the UK by Tachyon Publications, here’s the English-language synopsis…
Lior Tirosh is a semi-successful author of pulp fiction, an inadvertent time traveler, and an ongoing source of disappointment to his father.
Tirosh 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 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 stalking Tirosh through transdimensional rifts — possible futures that can only be prevented by avoiding the mistakes of the past.
From the bestselling author of Central Station comes an extraordinary new novel recalling China Miéville and Michael Chabon, entertaining and subversive in equal measures.
The novel was received with incredible acclaim when it was published, and it was selected as an NPR Best Book of 2018, a Library Journal Best Book of 2018, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018, Guardian Best Book of 2018, a Barnes & Noble Favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy Book of 2018, and a Crime Time Book Best Book of 2018. It appeared on the Locus Recommended Reading List, and was nominated for a 2018 SCKA Award. The cover, by Sarah Anne Langton, was a 2018 British Science Fiction Award finalist, for Best Artwork.
Here are just a few of the great reviews the novel has received…
‘… will leave readers’ heads spinning with this disorienting and gripping alternate history… Readers of all kinds, and particularly fans of detective stories and puzzles, will enjoy grappling with the numerous questions raised by this stellar work.’ — Publishers Weekly (PW Picks: Books of the Week, October 15, 2018)
‘Lavie Tidhar is a genius at conjuring realities that are just two steps to the left of our own — places that look and smell and feel real, if just a bit hauntingly alien. UNHOLY LAND develops slowly. It begins with banal strangeness (this Palestinia, so like and unlike modern-day Israel) and leans gently into it… This is a story that gets weirder the deeper you get into it; that cultivates strangeness like something precious. It has three narrators: Investigator Bloom, Tirosh and a woman, Nur, who works as a field agent for the Border Agency. There are echoes of Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union in it, wild strains of P.K. Dick and Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber. But UNHOLY LAND is its own thing. Something that no one but Tidhar could’ve written. Gorgeous in its alienness, comfortingly gray in its banality, and disquieting throughout.’ — NPR
‘Shifting perspectives will keep readers trying to catch up with this fast-paced plot involving incredible twists on multiple realities and homecoming. This latest from Campbell and World Fantasy Award winner Tidhar (Central Station) is fascinating and powerful.’ — Library Journal
‘[O]ne of those lovely books that starts out presenting itself as one thing, and mutates into another almost without you seeing it… a game-player of a writer who uses the spectrum of science fiction canon for his pieces… a grand game of alternate worlds cast like jewels on the sand. The long second act is all dust and blood and madness and glory, and the fast third act comes down on you like a sharpened spade… Lavie Tidhar is a clever bastard, and this book is a box of little miracles.’ — Warren Ellis
‘UNHOLY LAND starts out hard-boiled and comes at you sideways with the speculative elements. Tidhar has blended alternative history with murder in hotel rooms, missing women, an honest-to-god Fedora and mysterious borders in a tale that evokes Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Casablanca and Mieville’s The City & the City. Political and pulpy, with distinct metafictional elements, Tidhar adroitly pulls off this fantastical tale of an occupied territory.’ — Tade Thompson
‘… adventurous readers will appreciate this well-written and ambitious book. It should find a place at any library that offers high-quality literary fiction.’ — Booklist
‘Tidhar has turned a suspenseful adventure tale into a complex meditation on the possible paths of modern Jewish history.’ — Chicago Tribune