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matt ruff, the mirage

“By North African standards Tripoli was a lush city, its parks and gardens well irrigated by one of the governor’s most successful public works projects, the Great Manmade River, which had tapped into the vast fossil aquifer beneath the Sahara Desert. These eucalypti were part of an even grander Al Gaddafi scheme to fight global warming by turning the desert into a forest. Test plots like this one had been established throughout Libya, some two hundred hectares in all: the final plan called for the planting of a billion hectares, with over a trillion trees. It was going to take a while. But then the internet hadn’t happened in a day.”

This funhouse-mirror stuff is really very well done, and actually pretty fun most of the time (although the faux-wikipedia bits that interleave each chapter start out as shortcut exposition, but pretty quickly get grating, and then start to give away plot points, which is just … unfortunate. It’s a shame when an idea that starts out cute way outlives its usefulness); it’s also grafted on top of a perfectly competent if totally unremarkable thriller. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

Harper 02.07.12



February 11, 2012, 1:44am   Comments