Osama - Lavie Tidhar About halfway through Osama, I realized I had a mistake. Tidhar had me thinking this was just some alt-world, modern noir detective story. But he’s aiming for something more. I had not paid enough close attention to the details. I had been too wrapped up in his wonderfully worded short chapters and missed that the plot was slipping by. Once I realized, I don’t think I caught back up.

It’s one of those books which becomes so ethereal it can be subject to many interpretations. Maybe it’s because I just glossed over some key plot points early on. Or maybe Tidhar was happy to leave it that way. Either way, this is a book that strives to introduce layers in what begins as a pulp novel about a pulp novel.

No matter how chill I try to be about reading books like this, inevitably there is the desire to find themes. Is it about the thin veil between alternate existences? Is it about recovering from loss? Or being lost? Maybe it’s all just some bad heroin. Though not explicitly mentioned, I can’t help but find some significance that the story begins in Laos, the country the French called the Land of the Lotus-Eaters. If one was to pick a place to choose to forget, Vientiane is probably a top contender.

Anyway, none of this makes sense unless you read the book. And it probably doesn’t make sense even if you do. It’s a fascinating book. It may strive to do more than it successfully accomplishes, but it tries well.