Jesse's Reviews > The Mirage

The Mirage by Matt Ruff
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's review
Apr 02, 2012

liked it
Read in April, 2012

sorta disappointing - what could have been an amazing novel, just reads like genre fiction, with a purported purpose. the characters are flat and police proceduralish. saddam and bin laden are evil and written with zero depth (and this is a trap many writers fall into - that evil characters should be written with no depth and complexity. but evil actions require the most complex motives, and yet writers settle for simple undiluted motivations: greed, jealousy, etc.) but the biggest letdown of all was the rationale as well as the mechanism for the 'mirage', the answer is really simple, taken from a fairy tale, and the motivation for the mirage is even worse, that is if you can even find it (as it's never explicitly stated). alas, you're left with genre fiction without the plot payoff and capital "L" literature without the depth of character or human motivation that allows a reader to walk away from a novel with satisfaction without a full plot resolution (think infinite jest, gravity's rainbow, pale fire, etc.) and of the two novels of his i've read, i'd stick with bad monkeys which sticks with the paranoid espionage angle throughout and tries not to veer to far from course.
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