Alif the Unseen: Book summary and reviews of Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Alif the Unseen

A Novel

by G. Willow Wilson

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson X
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2012
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients - dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups - from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif - the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. The aristocratic woman Alif loves has jilted him for a prince chosen by her parents, and his computer has just been breached by the State's electronic security force, putting his clients and his own neck on the line. Then it turns out his lover's new fiancé is the head of State security, and his henchmen come after Alif, driving him underground.

When Alif discovers The Thousand and One Days, the secret book of the jinn, which both he and the Hand suspect may unleash a new level of information technology, the stakes are raised and Alif must struggle for life or death, aided by forces seen and unseen.

With shades of Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, and The Thousand and One Nights, Alif the Unseen is a tour de force debut - a sophisticated melting pot of ideas, philosophy, religion, technology and spirituality smuggled inside an irresistible page-turner.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. As timely and thoughtful as it is edgy and exciting, this dervish of a novel wraps modern tendrils around ancient roots, spanning the gulf between ones and zeros, haves and have-nots, and seen and unseen worlds." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Wilson skillfully weaves a story linking modern-day technologies and computer languages to the folklore and religion of the Middle East. For readers ready for adventure and looking for original storytelling, this excellent novel supersedes genres as easily as its characters jump from one reality to another." - Library Journal

"Wilson (The Butterfly Mosque, a memoir) provocatively juxtaposes ancient Arab lore and equally esoteric computer theory, highlighting the many facets of the East-West conflict while offering few insights, to some readers' regret, into possible resolutions of that conflict." - Publishers Weekly

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Author Information

G. Willow Wilson

G. Willow Wilson was born in New Jersey in 1982 and raised in Colorado. She is also the author of a memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, about her conversion to Islam, and the critically acclaimed comics Air and Vixen. Visit her online at www.gwillowwilson.com.

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