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Alif the Unseen, by G. Willow Wilson

I bought this soon after it came out, but didn't get around to reading it until now. I really enjoyed it; a witty sexy Islamic virtual reality novel with djinn in, set in an unnamed Gulf princedom this year or next, with a flavour of the diversity and depth of the local culture - Arabic with many other infuences too. It was good to come to it so soon after reading the Arabian Nights and also at a time when I've been seeing (but not reading properly) a number of comment pieces about how and why the Arab Spring failed. I found it interesting that Wilson inserts herself (or someone very like her) into the book as a significant character; difficult to get away with, but I felt that it worked as a way of getting us to think about how we engage with the story ourselves. I see that it won the World Fantasy Award, which I should perhaps start tracking a bit more closely.

This came to the top of my reading pile as the most popular book (according to LibraryThing) that I had bought in 2014 and not yet read. Next on that list is Lila, by Maryann Robinson.

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