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Posted April 18, 2013
The Mirage is a powerful psychological study of a man incapable of coping with the realities of the world. Our narrator and protagonist, Kamil Ru'ba Laz, is not likeable. He is pathetic, infuriating, narcissistic, and a great character. Kamil has been raised by his domineering mother, a woman so afraid that he will be taken from her by her ex-husband, like his older siblings were, that she holds him too tight. Growing up Kamil is not allowed to play with other children, barely allowed out of his mother's sight, and is fed sweet lies about how special he is. His mother fears not only that Kamil might be taken from her, but that he might form bonds with others and leave her in favor of them. Consequently through passive-aggression, she sabotages her son's life. Kamil grows up to be a man of little worth; uneducated, unambitious, and unable to communicate on a meaningful level with anyone outside his immediate family. Interestingly Kamil is aware of his shortcomings, yet still has an inflated picture of himself. This is because he refuses to accept responsibility for his life; all his failings, all his problems, all the obstacles to his happiness are the fault of others. When Kamil falls in love with the woman of his dreams (whom he has never met or spoken to) his deadly shyness and ignorance of worldly matters prevent him from making his feelings known. He stews in anguish while watching her from afar. When he miraculously manages to marry her his dreams of a life of normalcy and happiness seem to be fulfilled. But Kamil is not let off the hook so easily; he has little understanding of, or experience with, interpersonal relationships, and this lack of knowledge will lead to tragedy. This novel can at times be a little repetitive, and some scenes drag a bit, but all-in-all this is a fantastic read, and I highly recommend it.
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