From pulp-minded cynics there is the impression that the literati like nothing more than a book which presents fractals of reality impressed upon social and cultural situations—the more politically and historically significant, the better. If you can somehow throw in the values of literature (meta or otherwise), well, that’s just ink for the Nobel. Post-modern the name of the game, numerous are the works of serious literature (no quotes needed) attempting to portray existence as ever deconstructing relativity for critical acclaim. Speculative fiction a genre not well known for its forays into this realm of literature, there have been successful attempts, nevertheless. Jorge Luis Borges, J.G. Ballard, M. John Harrison, Jeff VanderMeer, Philip K. Dick (though perhaps unintentional) among them, adding his name to this list is Lavie Tidhar, Osama (2012) the novel securing his position.
Ostensibly, Osama is the story of the private investigator Joe and the bizarre case he’s contracted to take on. Living in Ventiane, Laos, his only loves are cigarettes, whiskey, and the series of pulp paperback novels he reads religiously called Osama Bin Laden: Vigilante. The main character Osama an anti-hero, the books tell the story of bombings, destruction, and the overall machinations of a man attempting to bring his version of justice to the Western world. A strange girl entering Joe’s office one day, she asks him to track down the writer of the fictional antihero Osama, Mike Longshott. Though wanting to say no, the plastic with unlimited credit handed his way serves to change Joe’s mind. Beginning his investigation into Longshott’s whereabouts things quickly become strange: mysterious men in black suits shoot at him for no reason. For poor Joe, however, that’s not as strange as things become, particularly the closer he gets to the reclusive writer.