The author of the critically acclaimed, Campbell Award-winning Central Station returns with a subversive new novel evoking The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and The City and the City.
When pulp-fiction writer Lior Tirosh returns to his homeland in East Africa, much has changed. Palestina―a Jewish state established in the early 20th century―is constructing a massive border wall to keep out African refugees. Unrest in the capital, Ararat, is at fever pitch.
While searching for his missing niece, Tirosh begins to act as though he is a detective from one of his own novels. He is pursued by ruthless members of the state’s security apparatus while unearthing deadly conspiracies and impossible realities. For if it is possible for more than one Palestina to exist, the barriers between the worlds are beginning to break.
PUBLISHED OCTOBER 2018
WHAT THEY SAY
“Lavie Tidhar does it again. A jewelled little box of miracles. Magnificent.”
—Warren Ellis, author of Gun Machine
“Extraordinary, confronting, intriguing. Unholy Land is a dream of a home that’s never existed, but is no less real for that: a dream that smells like blood and gunpowder. It’s precisely what we’ve come to expect of Tidhar, a writer who just keeps getting better.”
—Angela Slatter, author of the World Fantasy Award-winning The Bitterwood Bible
“There are SFF writers. There are good SFF writers. And there is Lavie Tidhar. In a genre entirely of his own, and quite possibly a warped genius, he rummages in the ruins of our centuries and our genres and makes out of them something strange, dark and utterly unique. There is no one like him writing in genre today. This [Unholy Land] is a twisted piece of alt-history/geography that refuses to go where lesser writers would drive it. Bold and witty and smoky, it plays games and coquetries, makes dark dalliances and will leave you dazzled and delighted.”
—Ian McDonald, author of Time Was and Luna: Wolf Moon
“Lavie takes us through a haunting, mesmerizing Judea, across multiple timelines into the promised night shelter in British East Africa. Here is an expedition at once proposed and taken, an alternate reality in which the holocaust is averted but the mechanics of displacement remain the same, where people are oppressed and oppressor at the same time. A genius, dreamlike fantasy for those who slip across might-have-been worlds.”
—Saad Z. Hussain, author of Escape from Baghdad!
“By combining spatiotemporal mind games reminiscent of Steven Hall’s The Raw Shark Texts with a cosmopolitan wit evocative of Graham Greene’s screenplay for The Third Man, Lavie Tidhar has given us a mystically charged, morally complex vision of Theodor Herzl’s famous Jewish state that might have been.”
—James Morrow, author of The Last Witchfinder and Shambling Towards Hiroshima
“Lavie Tidhar’s daring Unholy Land brilliantly showcases one of the foremost science fiction authors of our generation.”
— Silvia Moreno-Garcia, World Fantasy Award-winning editor and author of Certain Dark Things
“Unholy Land starts out hard-boiled and comes at you sideways with the speculative elements. Tidhar has blended alternative history with murder in hotel rooms, missing women, an honest-to-god Fedora and mysterious borders in a tale that evokes Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Cassablanca and Mieville’s The Cty & the City. Political and pulpy, with distinct metafictional elements, Tidhar adroitly pulls off this fantastical tale of an occupied territory.”
— Tade Thompson, Author of Rosewater and The Murders of Molly Southbourne
“Stellar work.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
“Unholy Land is a stunning achievement. It is packed to the brim with engaging ideas and features a captivating story . . . beautiful and thought-provoking.” – The Speculative Shelf