The Mirage by Matt Ruff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I heard an interview with Matt Ruff about this novel and the discussion was so fascinating that I immediately went and began reading it. The premise is certainly compelling - taking 9/11 and turning it inside and out into an alternative history. What a fascinating idea! And since I loved how amazing Matt Ruff's novel Set This House In Order was, I thought that this may be a great next Ruff novel for me. And its a good, solid novel. It's not quite as good as I'd hoped but its definitely worth a read for those interested in the topic.
My biggest issue with the novel was the pacing. It took me a long time to wade through this one and there were times that I had to make myself pick it up. And other times, I didn't want to put it down. It was just inconsistent in that way. Which is why its being rated 3 stars. Although, in the end, I think the read was a good one, I don't think it was quite as great as I'd hoped it would be.
On the other hand, Matt Ruff's imagining of this alternate history is alone worth the read. I found his pulling all the pieces together and looking at them in a new way fascinating! I think Matt Ruff is a genius at this sort of thing! He is clever and his pulling the various pieces of reality together in the alternate view of history is really breathtaking and thought provoking! Although I didn't love how all of those pieces ultimately played out in the novel, I can look at them objectively and see how clever and current they were. Especially some of the tiny details which made me chuckle (CSI: Halal, for example).
I definitely think this is a novel worth reading but I also think it has a number of flaws that make it less than what it could have been. But, given how complex an undertaking this entire enterprise was for Matt Ruff, I think he and his novel deserve a read! Even with its imperfections, it's pretty compelling!
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