The author of the Campbell and Neukom award-winning novel Central Station returns with an alternate-history tale in which Palestina, a Jewish state founded in the early 20th century, is building a vast border wall to keep out African refugees. Protagonist Lior Tirosh—a semi-successful author of pulp fiction—has meanwhile become a suspect in a string of murders while being stalked across possible-future dimensions.
Lavie Tidhar is a genius at conjuring realities that are just two steps to the left of our own—places that look and smell and feel real, if just a bit hauntingly alien ... This is a story that gets weirder the deeper you get into it; that cultivates strangeness like something precious ... There are echoes of Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union in it, wild strains of P.K. Dick and Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber. But Unholy Land is its own thing. Something that no one but Tidhar could've written. Gorgeous in its alienness, comfortingly gray in its banality, and disquieting throughout. And yes, it's a story about the magic of writers, partly, and that may rub some people the wrong way ... but because it's Tidhar, somehow, that makes it okay. Because he approaches it with a certain reverence for the pulps and the hacks, for the cheapness of collections of Golden Age sci-fi space-ships-and-ray-guns imaginings, for the sadness of worlds that never were.
Lavie Tidhar’s stunning science fiction adventure, Unholy Land, moves between incarnations of Jewish being with alacrity, hunger, and humility ... Political commentary is here, particularly in the Palestinian treatment of African refugees, seen in the world where the travelers and lawman meet. Still, it’s the details between realities that captivate ... Unholy Land is a wonder and a revelation—a work of science fiction capable of enthralling audiences across the multiverse.
Here, in Unholy Land, [Tidhar] turns his attention to his own homeland, in a scenario that seems wildly unlikely until we realize it was actually proposed in the early 20th century: namely, relocating European Jews to part of what is now Uganda ... By the time their stories all braid together, Tidhar has turned a suspenseful adventure tale into a complex meditation on the possible paths of modern Jewish history.