Alif the Unseen

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A bookload of wizardry and glee.

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Willow Wilson was born in New Jersey in and raised in Colorado. She is also the author of a memoir, The Butterfly Mosque , and the critically acclaimed comics Air and Vixen. She divides her time between Cairo and Seattle. Customer Reviews Average Review. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist.

USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Product Details About the Author. About the Author G. Average Review. Write a Review. Willow Wilson - maybe better known to some of you as the writer of Cairo and Air for DC Comics' Vertigo imprint, or perhaps Mystic for Marvel Comics - that, in terms of high concept, could be described as " Harry Potter meets the Arab Spring meets hacker culture.

Alif the Unseen

That the reason for his targeting has less to do with his online activities and more to do with the magical book that has mysteriously ended up in his possession isn't something that he realizes until some time into the novel, of course, but that's just part of the fun. Mixing magical thinking, fairy tale logic, politics and a dose of romance - and all mixed together with some great prose from Wilson - it's the kind of book that you'll genuinely find hard to put down.

Reading through the book, I kept thinking that Alif would make an amazing movie, if it had the right director. And yet… it's the "everything" part that worries me, in terms of "underneath everything.

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Wilson, an American who lives in the US and Egypt, writes about the culture - and culture clashes, when it comes to tradition meeting technology - with such grace and delicateness that it's hard to imagine others being able to translate that with such skill. Whoever was given the job of bringing this book to live-action screen life would need to be more careful than most in ensuring that they didn't either flatten or overly-exaggerate what Wilson has managed to do in prose.

So who should do this? Perhaps because of Slumdog Millionaire , I find myself leaning towards director Danny Boyle; it's actually both his Millions and A Life Less Ordinary that really make me convinced that he could do the job, although I suspect that having that 28 Days Later credibility wouldn't hurt his chances either, should it ever happen.

In terms of actors, I find myself wanting to stay away from anyone famous for the leads - Both Alif and Dina, his neighbor and ultimately co-conspirator in everything that happens, are young kids and as such should be unknowns, I think Look how well it worked out for Moonrise Kingdom ; let the familiar faces take the roles of Vikram or The Hand or some of the still interesting, but background characters, if anyone. That way, the budget might stay down, giving Boyle or whoever a chance to stay as true to the book as possible without fear of having to mainstream everything for "wider appeal.

Alif The Unseen is currently a novel that manages to say a lot of important things in such a way that you're drawn in and listening without even realizing it. If that could be translated into a movie intact, it could end up seeming like a work of magic as powerful as anything that happens inside the story itself. We and our trusted partners use cookies and tracking technologies to create custom content for your enjoyment and to provide advertising in line with your interests.

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Ditto Beirut and Baghdad. Persia is up to its neck in revolutions.


One aspect left unexplored is that before Vikram dies yes, a jinn can die , he manages to impregnate the Convert, so she is carrying a child that is half human, half jinn. He lurks on the forking paths, lying in wait for those who become overconfident and lose their way. For all its good natured antics, ultimately I was entertained but unmoved by Alif the Unseen. Given my tendency towards impatience and my preference for non-fiction, I found myself tiring of its repetitive scenarios and wishing it would end before it did.

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