Matt Ruff's The Mirage presents itself as an alternate history in which a hegemonic "United Arab States" is attacked by Christian fundamentalist terrorists on 11/9/2001, hijacking airliners and flying them into the Tigris & Euphrates World Trade Towers in Baghdad and the Arab Defense Ministry in Riyadh. As an alternate history, it is shoddy at best. The Mirage functions much better as a satire on the War on Terror and Aughts pop culture. The novel's chief delight is anticipating the roles played by public figures in the alternate world before Ruff reveals their names. Most of these are clever, but Ruff's genius stroke is how he alternately resolves the Second World War and where he locates the 1948 establishment of the state of Israel.
Posted by Eric Scharf at 10:32
Labels: Empire, The Life of the Mind
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