My last novel to read for this year's major award nominees is Osama, by Lavie Tidhar. I have not read any of Tidhar's work before, and wonder somewhat how representative it is. I purchased a paperback version, so it had reviews of the hardcover on it. Am not sure I would have expected what I got if I paid a lot of attention to them. More approachable than Mieville's The City and The City? Not sure about that. Many reviewers compare it to novels by Phillip K. Dick. I think not too much. Both Mieville and Dick have strong speculative fiction hooks in their work. Things that can really make you think. Osama might do that for you too, but in a very different way at best.
Our protagonist, Joe the Detective, is hired by a mystery woman to find the author of low-rent paperback novels featuring the deeds of Osama Bin Laden. But this is a place where terrorist violence didn't happen, and the stories are about the real world. This place appears to have unacknowledged ghosts--"refugees"--and Joe might be one. Things get weird as he progresses the case.
I think the most apt comparison here is Camus, particularly The Stranger, not Dick. Indeed, Tidhar gives a shout-out to Camus in the book. It's a very interior story, mostly focusing on Joe's feelings of dissociation with events, or just his feelings generally. Joe, like The Stranger, is on a personal journey so deep into himself that he is in danger of disappearing. Go read The Stranger for the real thing. I give this one 3 stars, for reflection.
Thus ends my reading of the World Fantasy Award nominees, and all award nominees, for 2011. The best for World Fantasy? Probably Jo Walton's Among Others--might as well make it a sweep. Which one was my favorite this year? I am leaning toward Stephen King's 11/22/63, I just enjoyed reading every word.