Alif the Unseen

G. Willow Wilson
Alif the Unseen Cover

Alif the Unseen


My friend and I were discussing the problem of finding books featuring non-White protagonists written by non-North American descended authors. We noted that, more often than not in our limited scope, we'd find non-White protagonists written by White authors, or, White protagonists who find themselves in non-White environments, written by White authors. Generally speaking, the result are hit-or-miss when it comes to a respectful representation of a culture that one is not raised in.

Shortly after, I started reading Alif the Unseen and, after confirming the heritage of G. Willow Wilson, was impressed by her handling of the Middle Eastern culture - from dialogue, to religions, to terminology, to class and more. She also did an effective job of portraying the hacker culture within that cultural environment. The writing and dialogue presented aspects of the culture in ways that I could easily understand, without things being spelled out completely. Meaning could be inferred without much effort. Of course, I am not familiar with the Middle Eastern or hacker cultures, so I am assuming the portrayal did them justice.

Continued at The BiblioSanctum