I will tell you a story, but it comes with a warning; when you hear it, you will become someone else. He calls himself Alif, a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern. When Alif comes into possession of a mysterious book entitled The Thousand and One Days, he discovers a door to another world - a world from a very different time, when old magic was in the ascendant and the djinn walked amongst us. Thus begins an adventure that takes him through the crumbling streets of a once-beautiful city, to uncover the long-forgotten mysteries of the Unseen. Alif is about to become a fugitive. And he is about to unleash a destructive power that will change everything and everyone - starting with Alif himself...
Full Product DetailsAuthor: G. Willow Wilson
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
ISBN 10: 1742378927
Publication Date: 01 August 2012
Audience: General/trade , General
Publisher's Status: Active
Availability: In Print
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Tom writes: Set against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, Alif the Unseen is a remarkable blend of science and magic, it's a rollicking good read which quickly became one of my favourite books of 2012. Alif is a computer hacktivist for hire who has no agenda of his own, he's happy to work for the highest bidder. This all changes when he is handed a manuscript that tells the secret history of the Jinn. The Jinn are the unseen spirits of Middle Eastern culture, over time their story has become that of the wish granting genie you might see in a Disney movie. In Alif the Unseen they exist both within our world and outside of it; as knowledge of their existence has waned their presence has diminished. Once Alif gets caught up in these two worlds he is confronted by a number of Jinn. They're portrayed as fearsome and powerful creatures that are not to be trifled with. But they can also be quite charming too, which has something of a disarming effect. The central Jinn for example, Vikram the Vampire is playful, flirtatious and at times absolutely hilarious. He is a much needed source of relief from the continually mounting tension. Vikram often comes across as quite human thus continuing the theme of blending the real and the supernatural. I have always been a strong believer in genre fiction, not only because it's wildly imaginative but because it takes the fantastical and holds it up as a mirror to society. Alif the Unseen may very well be reworking the ancient history and culture of the supernatural in the Middle East, but is also very deliberately set during current events. It takes a serious look at how censorship and aristocratic power, represented by the pragmatic head of internet security in the novel called "The Hand of God", will inevitably come into conflict and fall before freedom. The ancient fairytale creatures represent freedom of thought in of themselves and are in fact the physical manifestation of new ideas. They cannot be held down forever by a dictatorship no matter how desperately in clings to its power.
'Driven by a hot ionic charge between higher math and Arabian myth, G. Willow Wilson conjures up a tale of literary enchantment, political change, and religious mystery. Open the first page and you will be forced to do its bidding: To read on.' - Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Out of Oz
G. Willow Wilson is the author of the graphic novel, Cairo, and two comics series - Air, which was nominated for the 2009 Eisner Award for Best New Series; and Vixen, winner of the 2009 Glyph Comics Fan Award for Best Comic.
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