01/08/2009. Contributed by Gareth D. Jones
pub: ChiZine Publications. 216 page enlarged paperback. Price: $17.95 (US), $20.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-9809410-5-0.
check out website: www.chizinepub.com
'The Tel Aviv Dossier' has to be the most enjoyably bizarre novel I've read. The authors, Lavie Tidharand Nir Yaniv. have woven a complex story of catastrophic destruction, psychotic characters and religio-political apocalypse (in both senses of the word) into a story that never ceases to amaze and confound from page to page.
The first half of the book is presented as a dossier of first-hand accounts of the destruction of Tel Aviv by seemingly sentient tornados. These are a mixture of letters, emails, audio and video transcripts that quickly build up a picture of the chaos and carnage that are unfolding. You do need to concentrate as a large number of characters are introduced briefly only to disappear from the narrative.
These include a deranged fireman, a young orthodox Jew undergoing a crisis of faith, a tourist, a ufologist and a disembodied head. The impression was similar to the film 'Cloverfield' - quite disjointed and jarring, no real idea of what's going on, but overall very effective. By the end of this section, my head was spinning.
With Tel Aviv isolated from the rest of Israel, two characters now head in to the city to investigate and the narrative takes on a more traditional form. Sam is a member of the Israeli secret service and Mordechai a historian with dubious credentials. As they separately head deeper into the carnage the earlier narrative threads begin to come together and then things start to really get weird.
I don't really know how to describe this book. It defies both categorisation and comparison. If you want a unique reading experience then treat yourself to a copy of 'The Tel Aviv Dossier'.
Gareth D. Jones
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