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The Mirage Hardcover – 7 Feb 2012

3.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (7 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061976229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061976223
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.4 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 934,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Like Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America", the premise behind Ruff's alternate-history novel is chilling."--"The New York Post"

"Ruff embraces his twisty concept with an attention to detail that suggests many months, more likely years, of fervent research. . . . He is a world-class world builder who, perhaps better than any other writer, can create exotic, mysterious worlds and communicate their unique rules and consistent logics."--"The Stranger"

"A unique and compelling read."--"The Associated Press"

"Sci-fi/fantasy/post-cyberpunk cult author Matt Ruff imagines an alternate world in which Arabia becomes the earth's dominant superpower and America is a dictator-led, fundamentalist backwater. More than half the fun here comes from discovering all of the intricately clever consequences Ruff derives from that simple premise."--"Details"

"That "The Mirage" shares DNA with airport-kiosk genre exercises is nothing to be ashamed of. A good thriller is hard to pull off. The ingredients are clear enough: propulsive action, sympathetic characterization, and enough detail to ground the story without slowing things down."--"The Philadelphia City Paper"

"This book quite successfully challenges the ideas of Christian moral supremacy and the unchallenged political agenda of superpowers. It is a deeply satisfying novel which excites hopes of a long and productive career for this young writer."--Examiner.com

""The Mirage" is an intriguing addition to the genre . .. . Ruff spices up his tale with a wealth of arresting details. . . . Ruff keeps you reading, [out of] eagerness to see what twist he'll think of next."--"The New York Times Book Review"

"An audacious new novel. . . . . "The Mirage" is a topsy-turvy tour de force, another winner from a truly inventive and unpredictable storyteller."--"The San Francisco Chronicle"

"Like Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America," the premise behind Ruff's alternate-history novel is chilling."--"The New York Post"

"An unnerving but intriguing premise forms the backbone of Matt Ruff's latest novel, "The Mirage," one of the most daring 9/11-inspired novels to emerge after that horrific day--"The Seattle Times"

"A funhouse-mirror mash-up where H.G. Wells and Graham Greene collide with "The Arabian Nights" and "The Matrix." . . . Ruff dizzies and dazzles the reader with a fantastic-and fantastical-story."--"BookPage"

"The alt-historical framework is in many ways the best and most entertaining part of the book, and you want it to expand beyond the mere 400 pages of "The Mirage.""--"Seattle Weekly"

"Furious entertainment. . . . It echoes Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" or Steven Barnes's "Lion's Blood," but more comparisons will be made to Philip K. Dick's World War II reimagining "The Man in the High Castle.""--"The Onion's AV Club"

"If you amalgamated the methodical, punctilious, world-building skills of Ian McDonald with the reality-distortion powers of Philip K. Dick and then folded in the satirical, take-no-prisoners savagery of Norman Spinrad, you might be able to produce a book approximating "The Mirage.""--"Barnes and Nobles Review"

A unique and compelling read. --"The Associated Press""

Like Philip Roth s "The Plot Against America," the premise behind Ruff s alternate-history novel is chilling. --"The New York Post""

An unnerving but intriguing premise forms the backbone of Matt Ruff s latest novel, "The Mirage," one of the most daring 9/11-inspired novels to emerge after that horrific day--"The Seattle Times""

Ruff embraces his twisty concept with an attention to detail that suggests many months, more likely years, of fervent research. . . . He is a world-class world builder who, perhaps better than any other writer, can create exotic, mysterious worlds and communicate their unique rules and consistent logics. --"The Stranger""

A funhouse-mirror mash-up where H.G. Wells and Graham Greene collide with "The Arabian Nights" and "The Matrix." . . . Ruff dizzies and dazzles the reader with a fantastic-and fantastical-story. --"BookPage""

Sci-fi/fantasy/post-cyberpunk cult author Matt Ruff imagines an alternate world in which Arabia becomes the earth s dominant superpower and America is a dictator-led, fundamentalist backwater. More than half the fun here comes from discovering all of the intricately clever consequences Ruff derives from that simple premise. --"Details""

The alt-historical framework is in many ways the best and most entertaining part of the book, and you want it to expand beyond the mere 400 pages of "The Mirage." --"Seattle Weekly""

Furious entertainment. . . . It echoes Michael Chabon s "The Yiddish Policeman s Union" or Steven Barnes s "Lion s Blood," but more comparisons will be made to Philip K. Dick s World War II reimagining "The Man in the High Castle." --"The Onion's AV Club""

If you amalgamated the methodical, punctilious, world-building skills of Ian McDonald with the reality-distortion powers of Philip K. Dick and then folded in the satirical, take-no-prisoners savagery of Norman Spinrad, you might be able to produce a book approximating "The Mirage." --"Barnes and Nobles Review""

That "The Mirage" shares DNA with airport-kiosk genre exercises is nothing to be ashamed of. A good thriller is hard to pull off. The ingredients are clear enough: propulsive action, sympathetic characterization, and enough detail to ground the story without slowing things down. --"The Philadelphia City Paper""

This book quite successfully challenges the ideas of Christian moral supremacy and the unchallenged political agenda of superpowers. It is a deeply satisfying novel which excites hopes of a long and productive career for this young writer. --Examiner.com"

"The Mirage" is an intriguing addition to the genre . .. . Ruff spices up his tale with a wealth of arresting details. . . . Ruff keeps you reading, [out of] eagerness to see what twist he ll think of next. --"The New York Times Book Review""

An audacious new novel. . . . . "The Mirage" is a topsy-turvy tour de force, another winner from a truly inventive and unpredictable storyteller. --"The San Francisco Chronicle"" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Matt Ruff is the author of The Mirage, Bad Monkeys, Set This House in Order, Fool on the Hill, and Sewer, Gas & Electric. He lives in Seattle. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The illuminist tradition in Islam holds that God brings the world newly into being moment-by-moment; in Matt Ruff's engaging novel, an agent--neither human nor divine--hits the refresh button. The subsequent update: inverts, transforms, and reconfigures 1000 years of Abrahamic history. Thus; the state of Israel is relocated to the geographical space which the former DDR occupied in our actual world; and, rather than being menaced by Ahmadinejad, it is British Premier David Irving who poses the existential threat. The book is choc-full of such confections; and to give away much more could reduce the prospective reader's enjoyment. Ruff's main protagonists are a group of decent Baghdad cops (male and female) who battle against familiar corruptions and criminality in a post November 9th (11/9) world. Their private lives are riven by the conversations that the citizens of any mature democracy conducts between themselves: conversations about marriage, gender, doubt and belief. Because, Ruff clearly cares about the characters he creates, this reader found himself caring about them too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A clever idea, essentially 9/11 meets Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle (Penguin Modern Classics), and a not unreasonable ending either. Some of the characters were a little 2D but some of the criticism I have seen that the Arab characters were too Western in view misses the point. The alternate reality depicts a world where a unified Arabia has become the world's dominant power but is fighting its own war own very different War on Terrorism. The Arabs themselves have evolved their own forms of democracy, capitalism and yes, levels of secularism. They are a very different range of people - though one or two figures, as the story pounds home, remain their same evil selves in both universes.
A great premise and an entertaining read but it tried too hard to leverage in just too many challenging characters, such as Timothy McVeigh and David Koresh, into thoughtful roles that stretched credibility just that little bit too far.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In the mirage, Matt Ruff presents a strange new approach to alternate history, in which he simply inverts the present to the point that everything is recognisable, but very, very different. The united Arab states are a superpower, Saddam Hussein is a gangster, The state of Israel is in Germany, Gaddaffi owns the internet, What in our timeline is the united states is a fragmented mess of tiny, backward third world countries, filled with fanatical American Protestants who are just dying to blow themselves up in the name of Jesus to kill muslims in their crusade against the Arabs. Interested yet?
The story itself tells of three agents, working in the Arab equivalent to the FBI investigating the legend of the mirage, essentially the fact that the world is in actual fact a falsification, and that America is actually the superpower, a legend which drives the crusaders. The three agents themselves are well fleshed out, and the world is explored gently, primarily through pages from the library of Alexandria, an equivalent to wikipedia.
The book itself is easy to read, and quite thought provoking, even if the "what if" scenario isn't necessarily realistic (although the author states his intentions in the interview at the back as regards this, as it is not the story of the arab state that could have been, it is a deliberate inversion.) On a whole, it's an entertaining and easy read that is very thought provoking and different, but it's nothing particularly deep, and the irony that exists within the plot is sometimes too pervasive. The ending is also very poor, as it gives no closure whatsoever, and in only in the edition of the book with the author interview do we know what is happening.
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