Friday, August 29, 2008


Jon Courtenay Grimwood's "Arabesk" trilogy, "Pashazade", "Effendi" and "Felaheen", is a flawed gem. It is brilliant, funny, exciting, an exhilirating combination of white knuckle ride, crime thriller and travel guide. Set in an alternative and future North Africa, it dazzles and beguiles, drawing you into the dusty, hot, world.

Like the Islamic notion that perfection only belongs to God, these books are not perfect. It confused me, I was never entirely sure what was going on. This may have been intentional, since Ashraf Bey, the hero, spent almost all of the story convinced he was insane. It was still one hell of a ride, though.

Executive summary: arabs, German techno-assassins, female circumcision, arse-kickery. Read it.

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