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Unholy Land, by Lavie Tidhar

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Human history repeats itself.

This is a central thesis of Unholy Land, but what shapes the book is what ways Tidhar wants to show human history repeating itself. There is no good solution in this book. There is no timeline in which people treat each other generally decently. This is a very meta book, a book full of layers of alternate worlds, histories that might have been–but they all come back to guns and oppression and prejudice and fear.

Tidhar is Israeli-born and has lived in lots of places. He’s speaking from a position of knowledge, personal knowledge, when he writes about the permutations of Jewish homeland and disapora Judaism. There are all sorts of things that he does quite well in this. But the overall thesis is not an upbeat one about the nature of people in general, and you should be prepared for that going in.

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