Only a week since publication, Lavie Tidhar‘s latest novel, THE VIOLENT CENTURY, has been showered with praise. We described the novel as ‘Watchmen meets John le Carre’, but here are what some in the British national press have been saying…
‘Tidhar synthesises the geeky and the political in a vision of world events that breaks new superhero ground… Lavie Tidhar’s new novel breaks new ground in terms of the “superhero novel”… THE VIOLENT CENTURY extends [an] eerie synthesis of the geeky and the political, conjuring a version of the 20th and 21st century where everything we know still happened, only with added superheroes… The novel turns out to be a melancholy sort of love story, but the world-building is so profoundly smart that one can easily forgive and even thrill to the slightly predictable tale of amours, betrayals, repressed adoration and stifled expediency… Comics, of course, have been doing “what if they were real?” for ages, from Alan Moore’s Watchmen to Pat Mills’s Marshal Law. But the politics in Tidhar’s novel are very much about real-world subterfuge… the truly clever thing here is that while the reader has to suspend disbelief in the existence of superheroes, the superheroes themselves struggle to believe in the war, and especially the Holocaust: repeatedly they refer to it as being like a fiction rather than reality. The war becomes, again, something unthinkable. Using fantasy to reassert the awful reality of the 20th century is a smart piece of defamiliarisation.’ — The Guardian
‘While perhaps not as politically loaded as OSAMA, Tidhar’s THE VIOLENT CENTURY… is no less powerful. He imagines a world where superheroes are real. But while the Americans go for the brash costumes and public displays of power, Tidhar’s British heroes – primarily Oblivion and Fog – operate in the shadows, and bear witness to the major events of the 20th century in what is quite simply a stunning masterpiece.’ — The Independent
‘Good fantasy creates new worlds for us to dream in. Great fantasy, such as THE VIOLENT CENTURY, holds a dark mirror up to these dreams and tests them to the limit… Espionage inhabits a sort of parallel universe. Lavie Tidhar has taken this idea and run with it, creating a sophisticated, moving and gripping take on 20th century conflicts and our capacity for love and hate, honour and betrayal.‘ — Daily Mail (Who knew the Daily Mail reviewed SFF?)
‘It’s the X-Men as written by John le Carré, a shadowy alternate history in which cynical Cold War compromises are all too real. Agents Fogg and Oblivion investigate a conspiracy dating back 75 years to post-war Berlin. The British duo haven’t aged since 1932, when hundreds of mutants were created from the sub-atomic wave unleashed by a German scientist. Several years later, warring nations rally the troops with front-line superheroes but some end up as grisly Übermenschen experiments in Auschwitz. Tidhar’s Jewish heritage enriches his self-aware, tersely styled narrative. A love story and meditation on heroism, this is an elegiac espionage adventure that demands a second reading.’ — Metro
THE VIOLENT CENTURY is published by Hodder in the UK.