Alif the Unseen
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Alif the Unseen

  • Hardback
By (author) G. Willow Wilson

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Welcome to the Empty Quarter, the domain of Djinn, ghouls, demons and the effrit who take the shapes of beasts. You used to walk among us, and we among you. Now things are different. Now we are Unseen. Alif is a half-Arab, half-Indian, 23-year-old hacker working in the Arab Emirates. His job is to provide security to enemies of the Arab states, ranging from pornographers to militant Islamists. Alif has fallen in love with the beguiling Intisar, an aristocratic woman he meets online. But their budding love affair is cruelly ended when her father arranges a marriage for her with a man of her class...A man who turns out to be the state's leading censor, a shadowy and powerful figure known only as 'the Hand'. As their final communication, Intisar sends the heartbroken Alif a mysterious old book. Bound in what looks like human skin, and titled The Thousand and One Days, Alif soon realizes that this token of affection is actually a dangerous source of old world magic. And as the keeper of this amulet - this Djinn-penned tome of secrets - Alif is about to become a wanted fugitive from both the corporeal and the celestial worlds...

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  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • 152 x 214 x 35mm | 636g
  • 01 Sep 2012
  • ATLANTIC BOOKS
  • Corvus
  • London
  • 0857895664
  • 9780857895660
  • 28,344

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Author Information

G. Willow Wilson was born in New Jersey in 1982. After graduating with a degree in History and coursework in Arabic language and literature, she moved to Cairo, where she became a contributor to the Egyptian opposition weekly Cairo Magazine until it closed in 2005. She has written for politics and culture blogs across the political spectrum, and has previously written a graphic novel, Cairo, illustrated by M. K. Perker, and a series of comics based on her own experiences, for D.C. Comics.

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Review quote

'An exhilarating techno-thriller but also far more than that... Wilson has created in this rich, literate novel a profound dialogue between tradition and modernity, belief and non-belief, fairy tale and urban reality.' Guardian 'Brilliant... witty, imaginative and unorthodox in all senses' Observer 'Charming and original' Sunday Telegraph 'G. Willow Wilson has a deft hand with myth and with magic, and the kind of smart, honest writing mind that knits together and bridges cultures and people. You should read what she writes.' Neil Gaiman 'A dazzling novel about faith, cyberspace and 21st-century Middle Eastern politics' Metro 'Wilson works magic - An exuberant fable that has thrills, chills and - even more remarkably - universal appeal' New York Times 'Marvelous - Alif the Unseen takes events similar to those of the Arab Spring, adds a runaway computer virus, an unconventional love story and the odd genie to create an intoxicating, politicized amalgam of science fiction and fantasy.' Washington Post

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