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The Mirage: A Novel

Average Rating 3.5
( 18 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Alternate Reality & well worth checking out!

The Mirage tells an alternate version of history. Where the world is rocked by a terrorist attack on the Tigris & Euphrates World Trade Towers in Baghdad on 11/9/01. The planes were hijacked by Christian fundamentalists from the Third World country of America.
Yea...
The Mirage tells an alternate version of history. Where the world is rocked by a terrorist attack on the Tigris & Euphrates World Trade Towers in Baghdad on 11/9/01. The planes were hijacked by Christian fundamentalists from the Third World country of America.
Years after the attack on the superpower, a homicide bomber is captured in the United Arab States (UAS) & questioned. He tells a strange story of a mirage. This mirage is one where the UAS is the super power & America is poor & broken. He argues that this is not true reality...that in the real world the USA is the super power & was attacked on 9/11 by Muslims. Gradually the Homeland Security officers in Arabia begin to unravel the story & start to believe this crazy bomber.
The story is very well written & makes you stop & think without at doubt. At times it is humorous (The Quail Hunter from Crawford, TX who takes his enemies out on hunts & accidently shoots them or the crazy man in TX who is always looking for someone or something but can't seem to find it or remember who or what he's looking for or David Koresh leading the reisitance in America or Timothy McVeigh appearing as a protector to one of the invaders). This was well worth the time. The only reason it gets 4 stars from me is that it is a book you can't put down or read in small chunks. You need to read it straight through to keep everything straight, but it is well worth the time!

posted by Alison_Pink on February 18, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Mind-stretching book

There’s an old adage that history is written by the victors. Matt Ruff expands and explores that idea in Mirage. Mirage is the story of a world in which Arabia is the superpower and the United States a third world backwater country. In this world, Christian fundamentali...
There’s an old adage that history is written by the victors. Matt Ruff expands and explores that idea in Mirage. Mirage is the story of a world in which Arabia is the superpower and the United States a third world backwater country. In this world, Christian fundamentalists fly planes into the Twin Towers of Baghdad on November 9, 2001 (11/9 vs. 9/11). The twists keep coming in this upside down world. Except some of the terrorists remember a different reality. One in which the United States is a superpower and the Arab world a backwater. And they have some artifacts from this reality that seem to back up their story. Mirage is told largely through the eyes of Arab Homeland Security Agents, mainly Mustafa al Baghdadi. He is tasked by the president to investigate the “mirage rumors”. There are people within the United Arab States who don’t want that to happen, as well as people who think their lives would be better in the mirage world. I enjoyed this book because if features interesting characters with interesting backstories. The concepts explored were also very intriguing. Are the seeds of violent fundamentalism always present in any religion? What circumstances cause them to come out? How might political alliances that we view as unshakeable change if they sprang from different circumstances? My criticism of the book is that the reverse parallels seemed a little overdone and at times seemed gimmicky. (11/9 vs 9/11, wikipedia vs. libraryofalexandria, etc.) The placement of prominent public figures on both sides of the conflict in roles they might play in the mirage world is well-done for the most part, although sometimes it seems unnecessary. The most enjoyable and identifiable characters are the fictional ones. Despite any criticisms, Mirage is a story that makes you think and keeps you engaged. The core concept is brilliant and the exploration of the alternate world is fascinating. The characters, especially the ones without real-world counterparts, are interesting and well-developed. I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book. It is an enjoyable read that will stretch your mind. 3.5 stars.

posted by tottman on February 7, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    Disappointed. Not the political satire/commentary the premise suggests of itself

    The premise is brilliant. Flip 9/11 and the subsequent 00's - Christian fundamentalists from a balkanized America drive planes into cosmopolitian Baghdad's World Trade Towers.

    I was anticipating - or at least hoping for - a biting socio-political satire, like a few of the alternate world novels that came out of the Soviet bloc, or Vargas LLosa's "The Real Life of Alejandro Mehta"; or a lugubrious chess match between mind and reality like Philip K. Dick gave us, whom the B&N review references with "The Man in the High Castle".

    But for all it's imagination and clever and occasionally laugh-out-loud mirroring - the Muslim world's current hit rock album is Green Desert's "Arabian Idiot" - it is a heavily (i.e. unrealistically) plotted political "thriller", with winks to the reader aplenty, and despite some of its "still too soon" moments of gravitas, devolves into magical fantasy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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